The Inter boss believes the 20-year-old can build upon his impressive start to the season and reach the level of the World Cup-winning Spaniard
Walter Mazzarri has voiced his hope that Inter midfielder Mateo Kovacic can reach similar heights to Barcelona ace Andres Iniesta.
The Croatian has enjoyed a positive start to the season, netting two goals in three Serie A outings, and, while not wanting to pile pressure on the 20-year-old, his coach hopes he can continue to improve and become one of the best in the game.
When asked if Kovacic could one day match Iniesta on Inter’s official Twitter feed, Mazzarri responded: “We hope so, they are similar, but let’s not pile pressure on him.”
“Mateo has come on in leaps and bounds, partly thanks to the work my backroom team have been doing with him,” he added in a press conference.
“He handles himself differently on the pitch now: he misplaces fewer passes, his off the ball movement is better, he gets himself forward.
“His shooting has come on too and with the talent he’s got there’s still tremendous room for improvement.”
#3QuestionsToMazzarri: “#Kovacic the new Iniesta? We hope so, they are similar, but let’s not pile pressure on him” @Onda_Calabra
— F.C. Internazionale (@Inter) September 23, 2014
Inter host Atalanta in Serie A on Wednesday and Mazzarri, who revealed that Rodrigo Palacio will start in that game, wants his team to recover the sort of form that saw them thump Sassuolo 7-0 earlier in September.
“I’d like to see the same approach tomorrow as we showed against Sassuolo, getting at them from the start instead of letting them get at us. We need to aim for consistency in all the games we play,” he said.
“I think it’s time for Rodrigo to start a game. We’ll see how he gets on. When he’s on form he’s the sort of player who’s capable of almost anything.
“He’s a modern striker who gets you goals, can beat his man or drop deeper.”
Mazzarri added his delight that sporting director Piero Ausilio had signed a new contract at San Siro until 2017.
“I’m happy. I like the new shape the club is taking. They’ve made decisions and brought in the right people, placing their confidence in them for the future. I think a club planning for the future needs to be as clear as possible with the fans and everyone, and know how to overcome any early bumps so that it can achieve long-term results.”