Fiorentina coach Vincenzo Montella believes Walter Mazzarri is capable of turning Inter Milan back into title challengers.
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Montella, who played under Mazzarri at Sampdoria, will come up against his former boss when the sides meet in Serie A on Thursday evening.
Both sides go into the game at the San Siro with an unbeaten record so far this season, and ten points from their first four matches. However, there is still one big difference between the two clubs which Montella says is significant.
“Inter have the second or third highest wage bill (in Italy), more than double ours, and this means they have players of the highest level and some strong youngsters,” Montella said at a press conference.
“It would be easy to say that they are one of the favourites for the Scudetto, but maybe [Walter] Mazzarri would take offence.
“Not taking part in Europe is a small advantage for them and they have plenty of big-name players. They have the right mentality and an environment which is used to winning, so why not?”
Those are values Montella, who will sit on the Viola bench for the 50th time, is looking to instil in his own side.
“I want to win every game,” he said. “Apart from that, seeing the players following me with enthusiasm gives you extra strength. If we want to emerge from games like this unscathed, we’ve got to show we are highly competitive.”
Montella is not a fan of squad rotation and he provided a short anecdote to explain how he, like Mazzarri, prefers not to rest his best players.
“Once we were playing against Siena and Mazzarri was my coach,” he said. “He sent me on in the second half and I scored. At the end of the game, he told me that I was right that I wanted to play from the start. He invited me for dinner and we built a great bond from then.”