PINZOLO - Walter Mazzarri is raring to go. Now even more so after the way the Inter fans greeted the team during their first training session yesterday, egging them on with applause and cheers. The Nerazzurri coach said as much during his first press conference of the new season today, besides discussing what's to come: bags of enthusiasm and desire to keep improving. Plus a new captain to lead the troops.
"It's a new era and having already spent a season here, this time around I'll be able to stamp my mark on the team even more. Why am I so excited? Because of the confidence the club's management have in me for a start. Then there's the way the fans welcomed us yesterday here in Pinzolo. The players and I are all really up for it."
Expect to see an Inter side moulded even more in Mazzarri's style. "I'm as enthusiastic as I was on my first day at the club," he continued. "You know what my teams are about: they have a battling spirit, a soul, an identity and they always want more. That's what we're aiming for and we're working in that direction."
Mazzarri then answered questions about who the captain's armband will go to. "The captain of a team is someone who leads by example. Ranocchia is a lad who's got what it takes for the job. A captain must be professional, someone the others can look to."
There were of course plenty of questions about the tactical deployment the manager plans to use and also transfer comings and goings.
Mazzarri said: "Initially we'll start off with a three-man defence so that Nemanja can get used to it, as he's never played in such a system before. Then once I have the full squad to work with we'll focus on four at the back.
"Dodò is going to be very useful to us: he's one of the four full-backs I'll use in Serie A, the Europa League and the Coppa Italia. Hopefully we can stay in them all for as long as possible.
"Rolando? I'd love to have him back here with us."
Probed about Inter's search for a striker in the transfer market, Mazzarri explained: "There are two types of team. Those with a 20-goal man and those where lots of different players chip in. My teams are more likely to be of the second type. It's often the wide players who get on the score sheet. Hernanes has had years when he's grabbed plenty. Then there's Kovacic, who has shown he can be dangerous in attack, as he did against Lazio towards the end of last season."
The coach is brimming with confidence but also feels a sense of responsibility following his recent contract renewal – something which has made him even more determined. "I'm happy the club has chosen me to carry the team forward. I have the right skills to do just that. Today is the start of a new era and our first target, the Europa League qualifier, is already not far off."
As he waits for the rest of his players to join up with the team following their involvement at the World Cup, Mazzarri took a recent example to underline another point: "We've seen that often, more than the technical ability a team has, it's how organised a side is and how well they play together that gets you results. We're very confident. We're not setting any limits."