Andrea Stramaccioni has high hopes for Udinese, but feels he’d still be Inter Coach if it weren’t for Erick Thohir.
He makes his Serie A debut on the Friuli bench tonight against Empoli. It kicks off at 19.45 UK time (18.45 GMT), click here for a match preview.
“Udinese gave me an important project that focuses on youth. That word, ‘project,’ is not just an empty phrase,” Strama told La Gazzetta dello Sport.
“Di Natale is still hungry, while Luis Muriel is a striker worthy of a top club. Seeing him up close, I am certain of that, but he needs to win that bet. Muriel’s only limit is himself.”
However, Udinese have surprisingly relegated 18-year-old revelation Simone Scuffet to second choice after his remarkable debut last season, which prompted an offer from Atletico Madrid.
“We studied a programme of gradual growth and he understood that. Even Gigi Buffon, after his great debut for Parma, went back to being behind Luca Bucci the next season.”
Stramaccioni started his management career at Inter, where he was promoted to the main job after winning the Next Gen Series – a youth Champions League – with the club.
“When Massimo Moratti told me he had to sell Inter, I realised it was all over for me too. He struggled to speak and it was so tough for him, because Inter is his life.
“I had an intense and daily rapport with Moratti, almost a paternal relationship. He raised me. If he had stayed on, I think he’d have confirmed me on the bench.
“Up until January we were all going forward together, then after the earthquake of new ownership, we lost that united front. I never complained to the President, as it’s only right the new owner chooses his Coach.
“Inter will always remain in a precious corner of my heart.”
Stramaccioni’s time with the Nerazzurri wasn’t entirely happy, as he famously got into a blazing row with Antonio Cassano.
“Antonio started well. In January, when the difficulties set in, something broke. We said everything to each other, face to face. That’s our style.
“I will say that I’m glad I pestered Moratti to get me Mateo Kovacic, as it allowed me to leave Inter a nice gift. He’s the greatest talent in Serie A.”