One recent example of this were the comments this week from Inter Milan midfielder Mateo Kovacic who admitted to his frustration about watching most of the season from the bench saying that
“For sure Walter Mazzarri prefers a more defensive style.”
The 19-year-old Croatian was speaking to the media ahead of Croatia’s midweek’s friendly with Switzerland and he reflected on his first full season at Inter.
“Despite not playing for a long time I feel good. I’m ready for any challenge,” asserted Kovacic first.
“I did not expect this consideration in general, with the last Coach I played, but now I am on the bench a lot. But I want to work well so as to prepare for the World Cup.
“If I play with the national team in this match then I can aspire to more space at Inter. I cannot expect a big change after one game, but returning it will surely be useful.
“It is not for me to comment on the decisions of the Coach [Walter Mazzarri], for sure he prefers a more defensive style, whilst I like more attacking football.
“I have to get used to it, I have no choice, but I need time. Soon I think everything will change. It is a hard time, I was not used to being on the bench. I need time, I can do it.”
I understand Kovacic’s frustration at not playing, especially in a World Cup year, but to say that Mazzarri does not play him because Inter are too defensive minded in just not true.
Inter, who are sixth in the table, are averaging 14 shots per game this season. That is third in Serie A, trailing Juventus and Roma. Unfortunately for Inter fans, they are only averaging 4.8 shots on target per game, good for 5th place. Inter have also spent 29% of the season camped in their opponents half, the 4th highest total in the league.
The challenge for Kovacic is not so much Mazzarri’s style, it is that he is battling Ricky Alvarez and Fredy Guarin for the No. 10 role and they are two talented and experienced players.
Kovacic is an extremely talented young player but he has been too inconsistent this season. In his last 11 appearances for Inter, whoscored.com has rated him at 7 or higher only twice. That is simply not good enough.