PINZOLO – Reporters continued to press Walter Mazzarri about the transfer market during his press conference today, with the coach asked for his view on the possibility that one of his former Napoli players, Juan Camilo Zuniga, could soon be pulling on a Juventus shirt, and on Diego Laxalt and Alfred Duncan.
"What pleases me is that Zuniga – who came from Siena and was booed by the whole stadium to begin with – is now one of the best widemen in Europe. That's what I'm interested in. Whether he joins Juve is not something that concerns me or something I can do much about. It's not for me to answer, but I am proud of turning Zuniga into the player he is.
"As for Laxalt and Duncan, I'm not sure. I have to speak to Branca and Ausilio and their physical condition needs to be evaluated too. Let's wait a little and then we can be a bit clearer on that one."
Mazzarri also offered his opinion of Inter's new striking duo, Icardi and Belfodil. "They've got huge potential but if they're to fulfil that in a demanding environment such as Inter with all its tradition... they'll have to move up a notch personality-wise. I'll give them some pointers and I'll tell them what I think they need to do to improve. I just ask for a bit of patience: it takes time for youngsters to develop. In time we'll see if they have what it takes to become top players at Inter."
The Nerazzurri coach then spoke about the squad he currently has at his disposal, where he would like to strengthen and the standard formation he plans to use.
"Pereira isn't here at the moment and Jonathan hasn't recovered from injury. Numbers-wise we're probably missing a wide player but otherwise the squad is pretty well equipped.
"As for the formation, 3-4-3 and 3-4-1-2 are two systems that I've used for a long time and I change them during the week without people realising to gain an element of surprise in the game. At Napoli I switched to a 4-3-3 at times during games as well. Those are the three formations I'll use, but I'll introduce them one at a time so the players have time to get comfortable with them. Then I'll have different counter-measures that we can take when opponents adapt to our game. Last year when I switched to a different formation we won nine games in a row. There's a lot of study involved in modern football and you must be ready to change when the situation calls for it."
There was also a comment on the summer training camp. "The facilities are wonderful and so is Pinzolo. The pitch is almost Serie A quality and we have the fans supporting us close up. It's great. Everything's been planned in detail and is functional to our needs. I've been very impressed by it all."
Mazzarri then replied to yet another question about the transfer market: "I'm not discussing transfers. From this afternoon's training session you'll see that we have two players for each position; in some cases we've got young lads and in other cases they're training on their own for now. That's enough for the league campaign. As I said, only out wide could we perhaps do with another body. Once I've been able to assess all the players I'll tell you if we can improve in one area or another but on paper we're well equipped as we are."
A lot of people are curious to see what position Mateo Kovacic will play in under Mazzarri. Asked a specific question on the matter, the coach replied: "If you were at the training ground this morning, you'll have already seen where I fielded him. I've haven't been able to look at him properly close up yet. Now that I'm coaching him I'll see his potential strengths and weaknesses. A player with the qualities he's got needs to be getting into shooting positions and scoring goals, using his talent in key areas of the pitch. One aspect of his game he needs to work on is making runs forward without the ball."
Finally, a few words on Yuto Nagatomo. "He joined up with us a day later than the others so this morning he did the [Leger] test while the others had a training match. I've said hello to him and for now all I can say is that he's likeable guy but I have to get to know him better. I'll try to bring the best of out him, that's an imperative for any coach and it's what I'll do with him too."