Kovacic can be a superstar at Inter – Guarin

The midfielder is confident the 21-year-old will blossom into a great player and says Roberto Mancini has made a massive difference at the club

Fredy Guarin has labelled Inter team-mate Mateo Kovacic a future “superstar” who can flourish anywhere on the field.

The 21-year-old joined the club from Dinamo Zagreb in 2013 and scored five goals and made three assists in 35 Serie A games last term.

However, Guarin says supporters are yet to see the best of him.

“Kovacic has already done great things, but he hasn’t exploded yet,” he told Gazzetta dello Sport

“With the right team around him, he can become a superstar, regardless of the role he plays.

“We haven’t seen the real Mateo yet.”

The Colombia international was also full of praise for coach Roberto Mancini, who has made a number of high-profile signings this summer after inheriting Walter Mazzarri’s squad upon his appointment back in November.

Geoffrey Kondogbia, Martin Montoya and Miranda have bolstered an Inter side that finished eighth last season and Guarin believes he is beginning to shape the team in his image.

“He makes all the difference in the world,” he added.

“He has charisma and experience. Now he has chosen his players, he can guide us back to the top.”

Jovetic arrival delights Mancini

The 25-year-old is set to sign for the Nerazzurri from Manchester City and the coach believes he will add a lot to the team’s attack

Roberto Mancini is delighted at the arrival of Stevan Jovetic at Inter, insisting he will add a new dimension to the team’s attack.

The 25-year-old forward joins from Manchester City on an initial loan deal worth €3 million (£2.1m), though the Nerazzurri will have to buy him afterwards for around €12m (£8.5m).

And Mancini welcomed the signing as the Montenegro international, who made only 40 Premier League appearances over two years at City, has different attributes to his other attackers.

“I’m glad he is coming,” Mancini told La Gazzetta dello Sport. “We have too few players up front and he has different characteristics to Mauro Icardi and Rodrigo Palacio.

“He will definitely be very helpful.”

Inter have strengthened significantly over the summer as they look to improve on last year’s eighth-place finish, and the Italian also reflected on how well the new signings have fared during the team’s tour of China.

“Geoffrey Kondogbia needs to train better and he also needs to learn more about his team-mates,” he revealed.

“Martin Montoya has to work a lot because he is accustomed to another type of football. Jeison Murillo for now it is better placed than those two, but he can only get better.”

Serie A title race will be much closer this year, says Marotta

The reigning champions are expecting strong competition from clubs such as Roma, Napoli, Inter and Milan after dominating for the past four seasons

Juventus general director Giuseppe Marotta expects the 2015-16 Serie A title race to be much tighter than in recent years.

The Turin outfit have won four Scudetti in a row and finished an impressive 17 points clear of second-placed Roma last term.

Nevertheless, Juventus are aware of the strength of their rivals heading into the new campaign and are ready for a tight affair.

“Many teams have strengthened. I see Inter as title challengers along with Roma, Napoli and AC Milan, who have brought in a new coach and moved well in the market,” Marotta told reporters.

“It will be a lot closer than it’s been in the last three to four years.”

The reigning champions meet rivals Roma on matchday two, yet Marotta does not believe the outcome of the game will have a major effect on the title race.

“Both sides are equipped to fight for the Scudetto regardless of how the second game of the season goes. We’ve won four titles in four years with different fixture lists every time. 

“Every match requires you to dig deep for the three points, so our early meeting with Roma won’t be decisive as far as the title race is concerned.”

Jese: I never wanted to leave Real Madrid

The attacker has laughed off suggestions that he could be on the move and is desperate to prove his worth after an injury-hit season

Real Madrid forward Jese Rodriguez has stressed he never had any intention of leaving the Santiago Bernabeu side this summer.

Having only started three La Liga matches last term – partially due to injury – Jese has been linked with a summer exit this close-season, but the Madrid youth product insists he never entertained the idea of moving on.

“I’ve never wanted to leave,” he told reporters.

“I’m very grateful to the coach for counting on me. He’s shown he has faith in me. I’ll try to make the most of every opportunity I get.”

Jese then went on to make it clear that his knee injury from last season is well behind him after scoring his first goal of 2015-16.

The 22-year-old scored the opener for Rafa Benitez’s men in their 3-0 win over Inter in China on Monday, showing a classic poacher’s instinct as he brought down Marcelo’s cross in the box in the 29th minute before cutting inside a defender to score.

Having missed the first half of the 2014-15 season with a ruptured cruciate ligament, Jese declared he is ready to start the new campaign in top gear.

“Coming back midway through last season as I had to do and not play, then play was far more complicated,” he said.

“I feel better. The injury is well behind me and I feel great.”

While Jese has generally played on the left under previous coaches, he is enjoying the new challenge of leading the line.

“I don’t mind where I play. I like all attacking positions so I can adapt easily.”

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Mancini: Inter will challenge for title

The Nerazzurri were routed 3-0 by Real Madrid on Monday but the coach says the signs in pre-season have been promising

Roberto Mancini has dismissed the significance of Inter’s dismal pre-season form, insisting that the San Siro side will challenge Juventus for the Serie A title this term.

After losing 1-0 to city rivals AC Milan on Saturday, the Nerazzurri were routed 3-0 by Real Madrid on Monday, with Jese, Raphael Varane and James Rodriguez all on target for the Blancos.

Mancini, though, insists that Inter, who finished eighth last season, are actually improving and have a side capable of winning the Scudetto.

“A part from the result, which we’re naturally not happy with, I was satisfied with the performance in the first half, considering we played against one of the strongest teams in the world,” the Nerazzurri boss told reporters after the game in China.

“It’s clear that the results are not positive at the moment. But the important thing is to see the performances, and in every game we have improved as a team.

“I’m not worried because I’m sure that when it counts, Inter will be there.

“Juve remain the Scudetto favourites but I’m convinced that when we have everyone available, we’ll do well.

“I’m certain about our future and our championship. We have the players that can challenge for the title.”

However, Mancini is still looking to strengthen his squad and is excited by the imminent signing of Manchester City’s Stevan Jovetic, who arrived in Milan on Monday for a medical.

“He’s a different type of forward to [Mauro] Icardi and [Rodrigo] Palacio and he will be an important player for us,” the former Italy international added.

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