Walter Mazzarri bitterly criticised Nicolas Nkoulou for putting Torino’s Europa League qualification at risk and has injury concerns against Wolverhampton Wanderers.
The first leg of this play-off ended 3-2 for Wolves in Turin and the decider for a place in the Europa League group phase is at Molineux on Thursday evening.
The fall-out from that defeat is still affecting Toro, above all the controversy caused by defender Nkoulou effectively demanding a transfer.
“If a player comes to me and says: ‘My mind wasn’t on the job,’ it’s not a good thing for a Coach to hear. It means he may as well have been somewhere else and at the same time, took up a place on the pitch that we could’ve used for a different player,” said Mazzarri in his Press conference.
“I tried to talk him round, but I have many players who can’t wait to get out there, so what can I do? If he has nothing to say to me and has his mind on other things, am I supposed to beg?
“Should I drag him on to the plane, put him on the pitch and he does badly, then who is responsible? I don’t know if without him we’d have still conceded three goals in the first leg, I don’t have a crystal ball. However, I’d have preferred him to tell me he was distracted before the game and not afterwards.”
Cristian Ansaldi had some problems in the first leg too and he is out injured for this trip to Wolverhampton.
“I always choose my line-up at the last minute. There are many variables with Ola Aina, Tomas Rincon, but also Sasa Lukic. You’ll see tomorrow.
“I’ll have to ask Andrea Belotti at the last minute if he has fully recovered, you saw against Sassuolo on Sunday he finished the game with cramp.”
Mazzarri was asked why the Granata had been so tense and struggled to play their usual football in that 3-2 defeat to Wolves.
“I had told you, it wasn’t easy when so many players were making their European debuts. I think that we can be calmer and play better football, but hopefully be above all more focused with our defending.
“You were all convinced that Wolverhampton were the favourites, you asked me lots of questions about that before the first leg. So don’t act now as if Torino have failed.
“I hear too much criticism lately, let’s not forget the fantastic last seven months from these lads. Tomorrow I expect them to give everything, to their last drop of sweat.
“I hear too much criticism lately, let’s not forget the fantastic last seven months from these lads. We were swept up by a wave of negativity after that result, but if you take away the goals, it was an evenly-balanced game, we had more possession and hit the bar when it was 0-0.
“We have the opportunity to make up for the errors in the first leg.”