Sunday February 2 2014
Mazzarri: 'Kovacic was on Pirlo'

Walter Mazzarri was very critical of Mateo Kovacic and Inter’s general “sluggishness” after a 3-1 defeat to Juventus.

“I was annoyed at the way we conceded the second goal, as we had the opportunities to clear it and were too sluggish. Juventus were quicker to the ball, more aggressive and that made the difference,” he told Sky Sport Italia.

“We need to focus on every little detail with great determination, the way Juventus do. When the going gets tough, they get going. Juve were more determined and aggressive, whereas we were sluggish and lazy.

“We created chances and let’s not forget Rodrigo Palacio twice could’ve made it 3-2 to end with a siege on their goal.”

Inter are without a single victory in 2014, earning two draws and four defeats between Serie A and Coppa Italia.

“Unfortunately, we have a lot to learn, but I have faith we’ve got the right attitude, tactical approach and the younger players are growing. It’s just a shame the results aren’t coming.

“As I said, it’s a year of growth and evaluation, today we were missing important players. We just need a victory to turn the tide, that’s all.”

Andrea Pirlo appeared to run the show, especially in the first half, but Mazzarri implied the tactics prepared did not work because of Kovacic.

“This game was very simple tactically, as there were duels all over the pitch. In those situations the players most accustomed to being at the top and to winning will win the duels.

“I saw the possession almost equal, so it wasn’t dominated by Juventus, but the details do make the difference in these games.

“I thought Kovacic was in the ideal position to play brilliantly, as he’d have more space when going deeper. We knew he had quality.

“After Ruben Botta came in, Pirlo wasn’t quite so free. There was meant to be someone on him, Kovacic, and that person didn’t go enough, so he’d get stuck in-between and leave us a man down in midfield.”

The Nerazzurri also struggled in defence, so was asked whether Walter Samuel, Andrea Ranocchia and Javier Zanetti could do better than Hugo Campagnaro, Rolando and Juan Jesus.

“If Samuel, Ranocchia and Zanetti are in top form, then yes, they are probably better than the three who played tonight, but I have to take everything into account.

“Rolando has been a revelation recently, playing very well indeed. Campagnaro is a guarantee and Juan Jesus is a young player who can become one of the best defenders in Europe if he keeps learning every day.

“When it’s a work in progress, there are some players who aren’t sure whether they can stay or go, so a Coach has to take it all into account. Tonight I was without Hernanes, Cambiasso and Guarin.”