Mazzarri: "Tough game, important win"


The coach reflected on a hard-fought victory: "Livorno made it difficult for us and gave very little away. Zanetti is an example for us all"

MILAN - Walter Mazzarri gave his usual post-match interview to Sky Sport Italia after Inter beat Livorno 2-0 in Week 12 of Serie A 2013/14.

His first words were for Zanetti following the captain's comeback from injury: "Lots of things come to mind but it would probably sound like adulation. I said what I think in the dressing room. He's world-class and you saw that today. In just ten minutes when he came on he was a calming presence for the whole team. You don't find many people who can slot back in with so much ease after an injury like he had.

"The president was with us the whole day, he came to watch training and enjoyed himself. We haven't noticed any of this distance that you guys keep talking about. He even came and gave the team a pep talk before kick-off. He comes into the dressing room after every game, so I don't see anything different to usual..."

On the match itself: "If I'm honest I had a great deal of respect for Livorno and I told Nicola as much. His players had a lot of zip about them and looked sharp physically. They made it hard for us, gave very little away. Considering how we've played in the last few games I did expect us to do better today but we had less energy than in recent outings. On the plus side, we stopped an excellent attacking unit from having any shots on goal."

On tomorrow's meeting between Juventus and Napoli: "Believe me, I'm not looking at the others in the slightest. I'm busy making sure my own players keep improving, people like Taider and Kovacic. All our players have a lot to learn from Zanetti, just by looking at him and seeing that you can make a difference even if you only play ten minutes.

"Our performance doesn't depend on us alone. They didn't give us any space, they were always right on top of us. It was a tough game. We played less well today than on other occasions when we could only draw despite playing good football. But we managed to get lots of bodies into the opposition's box and offer men in support. Sooner or later the goal had to come. It doesn't really matter to me how it came. We weren't as clever with the final ball as we have been at other times.

"Mateo [Kovacic] is very young. He has to learn to be more pragmatic and that will come with time - he's a smart lad. He likes to get on the ball a lot and doesn't look to get into spaces as much as he should. Ricky wasn't at his best today but he and Guarin were finding space, even though Fredy likes to have the ball at his feet too. They're very talented lads and they still have a big margin for improvement."

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