A long and interesting interview with Mateo Kovacic, who spoke to Gazzetta dello Sport about the world of Inter and his aspirations. Here are the most interesting passages of his statements.
Finally on the pitch, how did your left calf feel during the match against Roma?
“Well, after the strain it was good to stop in time. In fact, the match on Saturday was a debut for me and to get into a well organized team greatly facilitated my return.”
But you immediately showed what you can do, with that number with the sole which initiated the action for 2-0.
“A play from five-a-side football.”
Fans began to fear a repeat of the long stop last summer.
“No, nothing comparable. Also, because last season I came back after 40 days, but the problem with the flexor then plagued me for months after the return.”
You arrived July 16, four days after you were among the best against Prato. How is this possible?
“In the meantime I kept in training, playing with friends on vacation, in Croatia and Mykonos. Then without much training in the legs it’s easier to be brilliant.”
Do you feel more at the center of Inter now?
“I’m always at the center of the group. If the team does well, I grow too.”
But when asked to get a top player, Thohir continues to say that you will be the top player, as well as Icardi.
“The president’s words make me happy. Now it’s up to me, even if these favorable words don’t put any pressure on me.”
To make the big jump your position on the pitch is also important: in the 3-5-2 you will play as a central to the left, but if you play with four it opens up more possibilities. Even that of a trequartista.
“As a kid I used to play behind the strikers, then in the first team at Dinamo Zagreb I went back as central in a 4-4-2. In the new role where Mazzarri sees me I’m fine: I have more space for my acceleration. Closer to the penalty are you see less balls and I always want to stay in the heart of the game.”
How much does it weigh you that you have not yet scored for Inter?
“Mentally, little or not at all. Since I was a kid I’m used to passing the opponents and letting my friends score. But I have to change this: when I get to score a dozen goals a season, I will become a complete player. I have always seen seen the teammates first and then the goal. I must learn to do the opposite.”
Do you have specific training for your shooting?
“I often find myself at the edge of the area, I pass an opponent and could hit the goal. At Pinetina we work a lot. Modric and I have this thing in common: even he scores to few goals, in the national team we have joked about that.”
Let’s go back to Inter. What impression did you get of your new teammates? Let’s start with Vidic.
“Playing with him is an honor and a pleasure. Due to the language we understood each other quickly. Against Roma he proved what he’s worth.”
“If you have been playing for the French national team you have unquestionable quality. Yann is still missing a bit of preparation, but in that position he will really help the team grow.”
“Technically he is very strong. With his left he does what he wants, and crosses very well with our headers he can become a devastating weapon. This was seen in Philadelphia recently. I was very surprised when Roma let him go away. Better for us. And then he’s only 22 years old. I very much like the fact that Inter have decided to focus on young people.”
Can Inter reach the Champions League With Osvaldo and Medel?
“I know the fans expect so much from us, but now we have to work, not make proclamations. Competition certainly has strengthened. Juve and Napoli have signed good players, Roma as well, and it is certainly not the team that was seen on Saturday against us.”
Juve, however, has lost Conte and could lose Vidal.
“Although Allegri is good, without their old coach Juventus have something less. And if even Vidal were to leave, they will have much less. Arturo is a top player, there are few midfielders capable of scoring 10-15 goals and give ten assists each season. He runs, helps the team. He’s a total player.”
“He sees the goal, he will also be essential to give us alternatives in attack. With the Europa League, with no turnover it’s not possible to arrive at the end of the season to play for everything.”
“He is a player I’m less familiar with. He’s versatile because he can also play in defense, he has an incredible grit and runs for two. So I can concentrate more on the offensive… (laughs). Seriously, I know that I need to improve, not only when it comes to the finishing on goal, but also in everything that concerns the defense: how to run, reading tactics, concentration.”
Does Mazzarri seem more peaceful after the renewal of the contract?
“I always see the usual Mazzarri, with a lot of grit and determination. He even takes care of the smallest details. It could be seen that he had prepared to perfection for the matches against Real, Manchester United and Roma.”
What has struck you more about Thohir?
“We’ve talked a little, but he’s a great communicator. He has good ideas, and if he can put them into practice he will build a great Inter.”
An Inter without the veteran Argentines anymore.
“To Cambiasso, Milito, Samuel and Zanetti, who also is vice president, I have to say thanks for what they have done and have taught me in a season and a half. But now a new chapter begins in the history of Inter, in which we will try to repeat their feats. A chapter in which there will be more space and responsibility for young people. With the help of some veterans like Vidic and Handanovic, hoping that Samir will not be offended…”
At the end of the season Kovacic will be satisfied only if…
“Only if Inter will reach the Champions League.”