Thursday April 9 2020
Zenga: 'Maran left me a fantastic group'

New coach Walter Zenga has ‘studied the characteristics’ of his Cagliari squad during quarantine and revealed he has ‘a great desire’ to resume play.

The former Palermo coach was appointed on March 3, after the Rossoblu’s latest setback against Roma in Sardinia but has not been able to lead his new team because of the coronavirus pandemic suspending all sports in Italy.

The 59-year-old replaced Rolando Maran after a winless run of 12 games across all competitions and the new coach has spent the month in lockdown to study his new players.

“This month here at Asseminello has served me well,” he told Sky Sport Italia. “Now, more than ever, I know all the nuances of both the sports centre, the club and its players. I had plenty of time to study the characteristics of my players.

“I have looked at them on a technical and tactical level, but also how they react to certain negative and positive situations.”

The Sardinians started the season brightly, but have tailed off since the beginning of December, eventually costing Maran his job in charge.

Zenga has pledged to ‘continue what Maran started’ with the Casteddu and claimed the former coach has left a ‘fantastic group’ of players behind.

“The fact that I have replaced a great coach like Maran is just one more incentive to try to do things as well as did in the start,” Zenga added. “Rolando did an excellent job; I found a fantastic group. I thank him for what he has done, and I try to continue what he started.

Radja Nainggolan has been influential on loan from Inter this campaign and Zenga praised the former Roma star.

“It’s fortunate for a coach to have a top player like him in the squad,” he said. “He can play in any role, but lately he has been more incisive behind the strikers.

“He could even play in a false nine, like Totti did at Roma under [Luciano] Spalletti.”

The coach revealed to be eager to get started in his new job but pointed out that he has been missing normal life more than football.

“I have a great desire to return to the pitch, like everyone else. But above all, everyone wants to return to life, that’s what is missing more than anything else.

“Football is missing, but above all, the taste of life, to go back to doing normal things.”

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