Mateo Kovacic admits he was “angry” when left out for Inter, but is learning a great deal from Walter Mazzarri.
The 19-year-old is already a senior Croatia international, but struggling to find space at San Siro this season.
“I am happy, as I arrived at a big club like Inter, I’m young and still have so much to learn,” he told Sky Sport Italia.
“I think Italian football is extremely difficult, as you don’t have so much space as in England or Spain, but learn things like defensive movements and tactics that are very important. I do miss scoring goals, but I have time.”
Kovacic joined Inter in January 2013, but has never scored a goal in all competition for the club.
“I hope it will be soon, maybe even against Parma. I say that in every interview, but the goal still hasn’t arrived!
“I am still lacking a bit of guile, as I can see the man in front of me, but not the goal yet. I am talking to the Coach and the more experienced players so that I can improve in that respect.
“I work on my shooting in training and also practice my positioning, where I have to be when the ball is on the right or the left.”
There had been reports Kovacic wanted to leave Inter because of his rapport with Mazzarri, who gave him considerably fewer starts than predecessor Andrea Stramaccioni.
“We always talk, whether I am playing or not. He knows that I’m good on the ball, but I must also learn how to move off the ball.
“I am happy that Mazzarri is here, as it means I can learn more and more. He tells me to stay calm, above all in this period when I wasn’t playing much, and to train hard.
“This is a process and the other more experienced players told me this is normal, just as it was normal that I felt angry when I wasn’t playing. It is a positive anger and normal for any player when he’s left out.”
Mazzarri criticised Kovacic specifically for his positioning after a defeat to Juventus and the teenager admits it was for his own good.
“The first goal was my fault, as I didn’t cover Stephan Lichtsteiner’s run. I have watched that game back so many times and I think I did everything fine on the ball, but when defending it didn’t work.
“Italian football is so tough, because you can’t turn and don’t have the space. I am young and have a lot to improve, but I want to become a leader at Inter.
“Don’t forget I’m not even 20 years old yet. Hopefully at 22 I’ll be a good player.”
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