Saturday February 8 2014
'Mazzarri mustn't attack Kovacic'

Croatia manager Nico Kovac said Walter Mazzarri’s criticism of Inter starlet Mateo Kovacic is “exaggerated.”

The 19-year-old midfielder arrived with great fanfare in January 2013, but struggled to make his mark in Serie A.

He started in the 3-1 defeat to Juventus and Mazzarri singled Kovacic out for criticism for failing to mark Andrea Pirlo.

“Kovacic is only 19 years old, he is a young player with a lot still to learn,” Croatia tactician Kovac told local media.

“I have nothing against Mazzarri, as he too wants to help Kovacic grow, but against Juve the more experienced players ought to take on the greater share of the responsibility, not a 19-year-old.

“I expect great things from Mateo, but the criticism from Mazzarri was exaggerated. If Inter are in that position, then it certainly can’t all be Kovacic’s fault.”