Read what he had to say here on inter.it.
Considering how last season went at Inter, what are your plans for the squad you have here?
"Firstly I'm a coach and when I take on a new job it's my duty, out of respect for the fans and the club, to get the most out of the players the club provides me with. That's what I've always done in 12 years of coaching. In terms of Inter, I think the value of this squad is greater than what it unfortunately achieved last season, both in results and performances. That's not a slight on anyone, I don't know what happened because I wasn't here. I have complete respect for those who came before me at Inter. What matters is that I'll have to work with all the players the club gives me starting on 8 July. Then, depending on what I see on the pitch and the other things I mentioned earlier, I'll start assessing everything. By that I mean the players' dedication to work, how they deal with the workload and the fatigue. After that I'll sit down with the club as I've always done and then you'll find out about any decisions we make regarding the transfer market."
Your former president has had a few things to say about you recently, using some colorful metaphors at times. Would you like to respond to anything he's said?
"The president likes to joke. Sometimes he does it well, others less so. I spent four magnificent years at
You have a big backroom team. Can you tell us something about them?
"Giuseppe Baresi is going to stay here and work with me. He's been at the club for ages and everyone looks up to him. He'll help me settle in. I wanted to have him with me so that I can understand certain things about how the club works and he'll stay on my team.
"Then there are the people who have followed me throughout my career. The first is Pondrelli, the fitness coach, who's been with me since I first started coaching all the way back at
"Then there's Frustalupi, who will help me with tactics and organising the players on the pitch. Luca Vigiani is a technical collaborator who will work with me and Frustalupi.
"Papale is the goalkeeping coach. He's been with me my whole career since we met at Acireale and he's achieved excellent results with the keepers he's trained.
"That's my coaching staff. Then we have Concina and Nitti, who work on the outside, they're scouts and they won't be around at Appiano Gentile. I'm in the process of discussing with Branca and Ausilio about some others but we'll see. Those are the important people, the ones who get the players performing.
"I was forgetting someone else, someone very important. Giuseppe Santoro, a technical consultant who will help me in relations with the press and Branca and Ausilio in particular. He'll be a massive help to me across the board."
Inter's new coach addressed the media at a press conference: "I decided to leave
Ten years in Serie A and you've never been sacked. How would you describe yourself as a coach? What's your secret?
"First of all, hello everybody. I don't have any secrets as such and besides it's not for me to say certain things. I think in my twelve years as a coach I've built my name and my career by insisting on respect for the rules and a mutual respect between the players and those I've worked with. In football success – and thankfully things have always gone well for me so far - is achieved by paying attention to detail and following a work ethic. Football is a sport but it's played at such a high professional level nowadays that I think those key qualities are almost as important as the ability of the players and the coach.
"Going a bit further, it's the players who have got to know me best down the years and they tend to see me as a coach who does a lot of work on tactics, a tactician who tries to give his teams a clearly defined structure. Looking at my career I think there have been times when I've managed to do that to great effect and others when it's gone less well, in terms of the football played, at teams where as often happens you see the improvement towards the end once everyone has got used to each other.
"In modern-day football, and this is where we can talk about Inter, you need to be extremely well prepared both physically and mentally and that's why I insist on a work ethic – that's sacred to me. The first thing I'll say to the players when I see them is that training is sacred: if you miss a training session there must be an extremely good reason for it, otherwise you need to be training and pulling out all the stops. If a player is skilful, he'll show that he's better than the others on the pitch."
Given that Napoli are going to be playing in the Champions League, and given the interest Roma showed in you, why did you choose Inter?
"I'd like to clarify this point because sometimes you hear things that just aren't true, even though I felt I'd been clear about it. For a start, my decision to leave
What's the target for a team that finished so far behind Juventus last seasonand which has a number players who might not be capable of training at the intensity you ask of your teams?
"To be honest, I'm pretty confident because I know my working methods. Especially when you've got a new team, that's an advantage for a new coach coming into a big club. Nobody can deny there were problems last year but you have to be confident. I'll tell you about a lad I once trained, someone I have a great relationship with and who is now working as a sporting director: Nicola Amoruso. He was a player that everyone thought was past it. He was 32 when he joined Reggina. After he'd been training for a while in the way that a player should train he was a totally rejuvenated player – he went on to beat his own goals record that season at a team that was fighting to avoid relegation. And he'd already played for Juventus and other clubs, that says a lot. I'm utterly convinced that if you work the right way and if these Inter players believe in our ideas and they buy into them, at least 90% of them are capable of enduring everything they should be able to endure to then produce top performances on Sunday."
Is there a
"Even if there were, I'm very fond of the lads I coached because they helped me get where I am and I'm grateful to all the players I've coached in the past. On the last day, when I said goodbye to the Napoli lads in Rome, I got quite emotional and I'll tell you the truth, this is what I said to them, I told them I wasn't going to phone them again, that if they wanted they could call me, and I said that out of respect for their new coach. I think I have my own moral code and I don't call any of my players even though I owe them a lot. I thanked them but from this moment on I'm no longer the coach of
You’ve always been at the forefront in controversies involving refereeing, and last season Inter had some problems with refereeing decisions.
"You might have noticed that in recent years I’ve stayed out of refereeing controversies. It was quite a while ago that my attitude changed. I was only critical in one press conference, which was after the Super Cup in
Have you spoken with Walter Samuel? Can he still be important for Inter?
"Samuel is such an excellent, serious and important player that I don't need to speak to him. At any rate, I’ll take this opportunity to tell you the way I work: when we all meet up at the Pinetina I won’t even set foot on the pitch for the first two days, but rather I’ll hold individual meetings with every player in the squad before making my first speech to the team. This has always been my way of doing things, so now it wouldn’t be right to talk about Samuel or any other player in the squad. I do this so things are equal for everyone. If we want to be following rules then I can’t break them myself. So everything will begin when the team I take departs for the camp. I’ll also say that those two days at the Pinetina will also be utilised by our fitness coach to do every kind of test under the sun so we start off on the right foot in the mountains."
Today it was announced that Andrea Ranocchia would face no charges in the betting scandal. How important is this for his peace of mind?
"It’s certainly great news for the lad, but most of all he’s a fundamental part of this club so we’re all happy. "
Could Inter play with your preferred three-man defence? How well equipped for that do you see Inter’s squad from last year?
"I wouldn’t want to get too much into what happened last season. I’d rather reset everything and start from zero. As I’ve done in the past with other teams I’ve coached, I don’t need reference points from the previous season, and my rapport with the players in the new team begins as soon as we meet and talk face to face. That’s how I’m used to working, so I’d rather not get into that. My way of playing? I have certain mechanisms that are quite established and that I let sink in within the first couple of weeks. Certainly I start with a concept of a shape for when we’re in possession, with a three-man defence. This is how it’s always been. Then over time I’ve changed many things. For example, when I was at Reggina I fielded a 3-5-1-1 when Nakamura was there with Bonazzoli in front of him. In another of my three years there I played a 3-4-3 because it seemed that I had players more suited for it when we were attacking. Then without the ball, you saw last season at
Beyond the formation, flank players have always been fundamental for you. Are you pleased with the ones currently at Inter?
"They’re all good players on paper, with characteristics to suit my game. And I’ll say it again: I'll make my evaluations on the pitch. Without going into what happened last season, because it was a one-off, I believe the squad is already equipped to compete at a good level. And then if the team understands my methods and concepts and trains in the right way, we have players with all the right characteristics. But there are certain assessments I'll only make within the club."
What do you think of Yuto Nagatomo?
"He looked excellent as an opponent. And what I said earlier still stands: I’ll have to see him on the pitch, then I’ll tell you more, like for example if he’s able to do what I ask based on my ideas. It’s clear he’s a great player."
In the past two seasons Inter’s results weren’t up to the same standard as in the past. According to some, the reason is that the team is a bit long in the tooth. How do you feel about that?
"I’ll tell you a story. In my first experience in Serie C2 with Acireale I took over the team and was told that the older and younger players couldn’t play together. I said the older ones couldn’t play football because they couldn’t get to the ball first. It all depends on whether an older player is still capable of training at a certain level. Further along we can assess whether the players that won the treble three years ago still have the desire to sacrifice themselves for the team. You need sacrifice for this sport at the highest level, where the opponents won’t give you an inch and go at 100 miles per hour. We’ll see along the way, and I believe I know the right buttons to push to motivate certain players, should they still be part of this squad."
So then you’ll evaluate lots of things in Pinzolo, and no transfers will take place until certain assessments are made?
"Beyond my evaluations, the transfer market depends on many things, and the policies of the club. I’m a coach, and any coach would like to have the best players in the world. But that’s always easier said than done. We’ll have to see if the club will sign them and if they sell anyone. Which is why there has to be someone that deals with transfers."
Is there a certain youngster you’d like to see on the pitch? For example,
"We’re evaluating things, and yesterday we held a meeting until midnight. I arrived yesterday and we’ll be here for two more days to make evaluations with my group and the club. They’ll be continuous with the objective of being in some way prepared to do certain things by 8 July. It’s too soon to ask me about all the Primavera players. However, I’d like to say that it’s difficult to play with a lot of youngsters and bring them along, knowing they lack experience when it comes to top clubs like Inter or the
You seem to be someone who puts a lot of fire and passion into the things he does. How important is passion for you in a team?
"Extremely important, it's crucial. If you want to win in the modern world of football, where the values are levelled out, you have to want to go the extra mile. And you do that by tapping into the emotions that are in all of us, though if you find the wrong person you'll never draw it out. To gain an edge you need to have that extra element. A coach, as well as convincing his players by the way he prepares for games, needs to galvanise them and convey the right temperament."
Looking at Inter's squad at the moment, are there any mainstays for you in there?
"Every coach has mainstays. I'm not going to tell you what they are but yes I have some."