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7 reasons why Roberto Mancini is the right man in the right place at the right time
The nerazzurri unsurprisingly sacked Mazzarri, the most hated coach in Inter’s recent history. Now they reunite with a coach who knows the club as well as anybody. Have they really picked the only man who can turn the season around?
by John Cavenaghi
Mazzarri is no longer Inter’s coach: thank God! After a sloppy start of the season, and after yet another list of embarrassing excuses (the last being “it rained” vs. Verona), even president Thohir realized that something had to change. The big surprise is the name he chose to substitute the Tuscan coach: Roberto Mancini. Pundits used to say that Inter had no money to sack Mazzarri (who, by the way, was the most paid coach in Serie A after Rafa Benitez - only to be surpassed by Mancini now) and at the same time hire another big name. Well, they were probably right.

At this point, Inter have no margin of error: they must reach the third place, otherwise they will almost surely have to let go one between Kovacic and Icardi next summer, in order to comply with UEFA’s FFP rules. Having said this, Thohir couldn’t have made a better choice. Roberto Mancini is the right coach and the best fit for the nerazzurri for several reasons:

1. He knows the club. Out of all the coaches out there, no other (not even Mourinho) knows the club as well as him. He tasted the sweet taste of victory, as well as the bitter taste of defeat. He was hired and sacked. He knows it all.

2. International appeal. Inter want to become a global brand. Who better than a coach who speaks English, and who’s managed and brought to victory after four decades one of the biggest clubs in the most important league in the world (i.e. Manchester City and Premier League)? Mazzarri struggled to learn English, and probably even to understand why he had to…

3. Communication. One thing is to talk face to face with your boss/employee, another is having to speak to him through an interpreter. If Thohir wants to say something to Mancini, he will call him. If Bolingbroke wants to talk to Mancio, he will go to la Pinetina and talk. Mazzarri had language barriers impeding communication with half of Inter’s new management. Can’t possibly work.

4. Youth development. Inter’s new strategy includes the full exploitation of the youth sector. Well, as opposed to Mazzarri, Mancini likes to work with young, possibly wonder, kids. He was one himself, making his Serie A debut at 16 years of age. He gave a 17-year-old Mario Balotelli his first chance. Mazzarri was forced to work with a squad that was not in line with his ideal team.

5. Experience. Mancini and Inter reunite after six, very long years. A lot happened, on both sides. When Mourinho arrived, he complained (indirectly) with Mancini because there was no office for the coach at la Pinetina, claiming Mancini was not as organized and/or professional as him. Was he right? Maybe. The truth is, Mancini had always worked in Italy only, and that’s how things worked in Italy. A coach was a coach, not a manager. Now, after 4 years in England and a year in Turkey, Mancio has significant international experience, and he learned to manage not only 25 players, but every other aspect in a club. At the same time, he finds a new office (thank you Mou), new silverware, and a totally new club, with competent international managers, and with a clear, ambitious project for the coming years. The 2008 version of Mancini wouldn’t have been right for today’s Inter, but at the same time, Moratti’s Inter wouldn’t have been a good fit for today’s Mancini. They are right for each other now, but it’s as if it were the first time.

6. Fans and media. There’s one thing you cannot buy, and that’s the fan’s enthusiasm. Mazzarri had a terrible relationship with Inter fans, because he lacked empathy and never knew what to say in front of the media. He never quite understood the mentality and psyche of the nerazzurri. They (we) complain and moan a lot, but this doesn’t mean the coach is allowed to do the same. Mourinho, for example, knew how to do it the right way. He was credible in that role. Mazzarri was not. He complained about everything, and he often blamed external factors to justify his mistakes, something that the Portuguese coach never did (he’d rather blame himself than, for example, his players). Mancini, in this, is similar to Mourinho. He was the first Inter coach to speak up against Juve. He defended the black and blue colors and developed a true nerazzurro DNA. He needs to build no reputation among the fans, because he already has one as leader of the club. Last, but not least, he was the coach of the infamous 2005-06 Scudetto, the Calciopoli one. Now that Juve are so strong, and that they often bring up that topic, having him to defend the club can’t definitely be a bad thing. Also for Thohir and the new management. All this will translate into more, cheering fans in San Siro. As Thohir put it, Inter cannot afford playing at home in a hostile environment anymore.

7. Winning mentality. Mazzarri’s most impressive result was when he avoided relegation with a 15-point-penalized Reggina in 2006-07, the same year in which Mancini won his first Scudetto “on the pitch”, with a record-breaking 17-straight victories and 97 overall points. After that season Mazzarri would coach Sampdoria and Napoli, while Mancini would go on to win silverware in Manchester and Istanbul. Actually, Mancini won at least a national cup at every single club he’s coached in his career. Mazzarri won nothing but a Coppa Italia at Napoli. When you have a young team, with no true leader on the pitch, you need a guide on the bench, someone who knows how it’s done. Well, my dear Inter players, now you have it.

Friday, November 21 st, 2014
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