INDIANAPOLIS – Walter Mazzarri expressed his satisfaction with his team's performance as he spoke exclusively to Inter Channel after the Nerazzurri slipped to defeat against Chelsea in their opening Guinness International Champions Cup fixture.
"I'm trying to get the team playing a certain way and unlike against Hamburg we managed to take the game to our opponents tonight. We didn't get the rub of the green and we also needed to be more determined in closing down the spaces when they hit us on the counter. But considering the quality of the opposition we were up against I'm happy anyway as the result has no bearing on anything at this stage of the season. I never like losing on principle but it's still acceptable at the moment."
The coach continued his analysis in the post-match press conference.
"I'm very happy with the way my team played. We started strongly but weren't able to open the scoring with that piece of skill from Guarin. Then we got punished on the first counter-attack. The lads held their shape well and despite the result I'm satisfied with the performance. We held our own in the second half too while it was 11 v 11, and then even with all the substitutions we managed to avoid conceding a third.
"What did I think of the pitch? The stadium is fantastic, the playing surface a little less so."
On the refereeing: "I don't want to talk about that. Let's just forget it because at this stage of the season the last thing I'm looking at is the result."
Reporters then asked Mazzarri about his handshake with Mourinho. "We already knew that when we come up against each other in a game that matters we each look to defend our own interests and our own team. It was nice to see him again today. We spoke about that for a minute and a half and then we shared a pleasant chat between two people who have mutual respect for each other - at least on my part there is. It was really nice.
"What changed when we were reduced to 10 men? We switched to a 4-4-1 formation so that we could cover the whole pitch and in doing so we managed to plug the gaps. I think it went very well, although of course it's difficult to score when you're a man down. We'd also planned to take off five or six players to give others some playing time. So I saw positives even when we were playing with a man less. I was impressed by Olsen, for example."