Mazzarri raises goal tally Everyone scores more where he coaches

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Mazzarri raises goal tally Everyone scores more where he coaches

May 6, 2011 at 5:13 PM

From Cassano to Pazzini, from Bianchi to Cavani: the stats show that they scored more under the coach who is currently at Napoli. He is wrongly considered a defence-oriented manager. He's tough and his future could be at Juventus

MILAN, 6 May 2011 - What do Giampaolo Pazzini, Antonio Cassano and Rolando Bianchi have in common with Edison Cavani? First of all the obvious answer is the position they cover on the pitch: they all play in attack. Some are centre forwards like Bianchi and Pazzini, others secondary strikers like Cassano, others like Cavani are able to play in one role or the other.

WITH MAZZARRI — The stat they have in common though, is another: all four were (or in the Uruguayan's case still is) coached by Walter Mazzarri in their most prolific goal-scoring seasons in Serie A. That's right, the Tuscan trainer who by some is superficially considered to favour defensive play. The only reason for this is that his team doesn't let in many goals. Mazzari, who in Serie A has coached Reggina (from 2004 to 2007), Sampdoria (2007-09) and Napoli. Here at Napoli his feat is worthy of note as he is not only responsible for De Laurentiis' team's unforgettable season, but for managing to guide them into the Champions League with a squad which is definitely inferior to four, if not six or seven other Serie A teams. You will remember the miraculous relegation-avoiding feat he pulled off in Reggio Calabria in the 2006-07 season, when the team was docked 15 points, subsequently reduced to 11, for president Lillo Foti's involvement in Calciopoli. In that team there were players such as Pelizzoli, Amerini, Tedesco and Mesto. Good players but nothing special.

LANCIO BIANCHI — This extraordinary feat was made possible by the 35 goals scored by the striking pair, Rolando Bianchi and Nicola Amoruso. Bianchi played the season of his life. After being sidelined through serious injury in September 2005 with the Under-21 team, the centre forward was finally brought into the team by Foti, following advice from Mazzarri, who had also coached him during the previous season where he was quite unlucky (scoring only one goal, in the derby with Messina, in 9 appearances), and he ended up with a total of 18 goals in 37 matches. The following season there was a race to sign "Rolandinho" and he ended up in Sven Goran Eriksson's Manchester City side where he wasn't able to keep it up (4 goals in 20 appearances). After a lack-lustre spell at Lazio, Bianchi got his form back playing for Torino, but in Serie B.

Cavani, 24 years old and already 26 goals in serie A, celebrates a goal with Walter Mazzarri. Ansa

REBUILDING CASSANO — The Tuscan trainer's involvement in the Cassano story was not so dramatic, especially considering the player's career. Antonio was already a champion long before he moved to Sampdoria from Real Madrid in the summer of 2007, leaving behind him arguments with Fabio Capello and the Madrid night-life. What Mazzarri did and thank goodness he did, was to give the player freedom in attack without trying to strap his lively talent down and allowing him to get his goalscoring gift back. Playing alongside him in attack for the most part was Emiliano Bonazzoli, another striker who owes Mazzarri a great debt for getting him on track in the top league, as he sparked him off in Reggio in the 2004-05 season. In his first season, Cassano scored 10 goals in 22 Serie A appearances. But he was to do even better in Mazzarri's second term there, the one with the Coppa Italia final which they lost on penalties to Lazio, scoring 12 times (a personal best) in the league.

TRANSFORMING CAVANI — Ok, it was already there for all to see at Palermo that this boy had talent. Real talent. And some may say that the Uruguayan (class of 1987, and by no means a veteran) developed his skills independently, regardless of his coaching. But what did they say about him in Sicily? Great talent, really fast. But he misses too many goals. Well at Napoli we have reached 26 in 34 matches. And it isn't over yet. The truth is that Mazzarri has transformed a high level of talent into a match-winning player. He is phenomenal in front of goal, mature in his attitude to the game and well able to absorb the pressure in a situation where the pressure is always brought to bear on the player. The Tuscan's tactics have brought out the best in him. Just watch the "Matador" playing off the ball and note how well he has adapted to the styles of Ezequiel Lavezzi and Marek Hamsik. Here the coach's hand is obvious. The same hand that will take Hamsik, who is by no means a striker, to the end of the season in double figures for the second year running. It's just a matter of course to see if he'll score more than the 12 he put away last season, when he was playing (and scoring) for Roberto Donadoni.

2007/2008 season: Cassano back playing for Samp thanks to Mazzarri. LaPresse

kick-starting PAZZINI — Can you remember the real turning point in Pazzo's career? Summer 2007: Fiorentina decided to concentrate on him and sold Luca Toni, who didn't interact well with him, to Bayern Munich. The year and a half that followed were not the happiest and Fiorentina sold him to Sampdoria in 2009. There were no complaints. Following the incredible sitter he missed in the derby against Siena at the home of the Palio, harsh insults flew in the bars in Florence. The coach of that Samp team was one Walter Mazzarri. he brought the best out in Pazzini, playing him alongside a suitable partner, Antonio Cassano. The pair of them hit it off perfectly, in spite of the fact that he arrived in the January window, he fitted in perfectly and scored 11 times in 19 appearances. An average worthy of a top goalscorer, scoring even more than the second season, where he netted 19 times but in 37 games. The player took another step up on the ladder and moved on to Inter.

THE FUTURE — We don't know what Mazzarri is going to do next year. Juve is keeping an eye on him as a possible replacement for Delneri and the relationship with De Laurentiis isn't as good as it used to be. He isn't a nice guy. He doesn't know how to interact with the media and his teams don't know how to attack, according to those who aren't enamoured with him. The first point, if it's true, has nothing to do with football and so is irrelevant. The second can be overcome with a bit of effort. But the third is not at all true. Are we sure he isn't the right man for Juve, or another of the big teams?


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