Walter Mazzarri warns Edy Reja’s chaotic arrival on the Lazio bench “is not an advantage” for Inter in tomorrow’s game.
Reja makes his ‘debut’ replacing sacked Vladimir Petkovic on Monday at 17.30 GMT, click here for a match preview.
“I think an experienced and talented Coach like Reja can unite the club. He knows them well, as he was there only two years ago. I hear they have already rediscovered their enthusiasm,” said Mazzarri.
“Lazio have excellent players and if they play the way they can, then they’ll cause anyone problems, so it will be a difficult game and an important test for us.
“I don’t think this change of management was an advantage for us. Lazio were struggling in their last game at Verona with a performance not up to their quality. With Reja arriving and with his knowledge of the players, he can turn them around.
“It’s also a problem because we don’t know how Lazio will play in tactical terms.”
The Nerazzurri ended 2013 on a high by beating local rivals Milan with a late Rodrigo Palacio goal.
“I urged the lads to stick to the fitness and diet plan over the Christmas break. They seem to be at their best and fired up, as shown by our tests, and the Derby victory will have boosted their self-confidence. We needed that, but as I told them it’s not enough, as we need consistency.
“I want the team to play its football and maintain its credo, then results can be down to individual errors or incidents.
“There’s no point denying that results count in Italy. I am curious to see our attitude tomorrow against Lazio, as the victory over Milan should’ve given us more motivation and confidence.”
Ricky Alvarez returns from suspension, while Diego Milito is back in the squad after injury.
“He played in the last couple of friendlies and can be of help to his teammates in the latter stages, though of course he’s not at his best yet. Even just Milito’s presence can have an effect both for opponents and his teammates.
“Inter are based on team spirit and the numbers show Rodrigo Palacio is the best finisher this season, but we also have many different players who have scored more than at any other time in their career – such as Jonathan and Yuto Nagatomo.
“Unfortunately, Mauro Icardi was training regularly and ready for a comeback, but this weekend he came down with flu and I don’t know if he’ll even be on the bench. It’s a shame, as he was doing well. He’ll sleep at the training ground in a separate room, as flu is contagious, and we’ll see tomorrow if he can come to Rome.”
Mazzarri smiled when he was asked who he would cheer on in tonight’s Juventus-Roma showdown.
“I cheer on only my own team. I am focused on Inter and nobody else. As I’ve said from the first day, we just have to get as many points as possible and treat every game as a Final.”
He was more irritable when asked about the transfer strategy over the January window.
“Please don’t talk to me about the market. I can’t wait for January to be over, as we have four games to play and I worry the team will be distracted if every day people ask who will arrive or leave. We cannot afford that distraction.
“We can be more than satisfied with what we have done so far if we look at our pre-season objectives. However, looking at the actual performances, I am kicking myself because we could’ve had four or five more points than we currently do.
“We’ve been working together for a while now, so the team’s understanding of my tactics and my understanding of them can only improve going forward. In my career my teams have always improved over time.”
Think you know your Italian football? Share your knowledge, tips and comments to win cash prizes in OLBG's tipster competition - £5,000 monthly.