Torino boss Mazzarri happy to swap Watford for Italy

New Torino boss Walter Mazzarri said Friday he was excited to be back coaching in Italy after just one season spent as manager of English club Watford.


“I chose to come back to Italy because I think it’s the ideal environment for me. When I entered the Filadelfia (Torino Stadium) I got goosebumps,” Mazzarri told his first press conference.

The 56-year-old from Tuscany had spent his entire coaching career in Italy with clubs including Inter Milan and Napoli before signing for Watford in 2016. But he was sacked after just one season in England despite ensuring the club’s Premier League survival.

Mazzarri was handed the Torino reins on Thursday in place of Sinisa Mihajlovic — sacked after the club’s 2-0 Italian Cup exit to Juventus — and insisted he was excited to be joining a club “with such a glorious past”.

“I immediately had a great feeling when the Torino managers called me. I need motivation and right now I’m very fired-up but also a bit emotional,” he said.

“I think it’s ideal for me and this is a feeling that I had immediately. I’m convinced I can do well.”

Torino — who dominated Italian football in the 1940s when they won five of their seven Serie A titles — have not lifted the Scudetto since 1976 with champions Juventus now the dominant Turin club.

Mazzarri oversaw his first training session hours after Mihajlovic’s exit and discovered players “a bit dazed” by the swiftness of the change.

“I told them: ‘I know you were attached to your coach but we are all professionals and I ask you to follow my ideas and give me maximum committment'”.

Mihajlovic, 48, paid for Torino’s recent form with the club tenth this season after just five wins in 19 games including six draws in their last eight league games.

Club president Urbano Cairo said he had been sorry to have to sack the Serb, but decisive action had been needed.

“I have not sacked a coach since 2011,” said Cairo. “I’m sorry for Mihajlovic but I’m happy for Mazzarri who I had wanted at Torino since June 2007 when he was committed to Sampdoria.

“Now I’ve succeeded and I’m very pleased because he is an excellent coach. He did great things at Livorno, with Reggina and then with Blucerchiati (Sampdoria) and Napoli.”

Mazzarri’s first game in charge will be against Bologna, just below Torino in the league, in their last Serie A game before a two-week break until January 21.

The new coach added that he had already “given indications” to Torino bosses on his January transfer market wish list.

“I’m trying to understand as much as I can then I’ll report to the club managers, but I believe this group is strong.”

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