Passion. The word that Walter Zenga continually comes back to as he sets about the task of making a successful impact in the Molineux hotseat as Wolves’ new Head Coach.
Speaking to Wolves Player in advance of today’s introductory press conference, it is clear that the former Italian number one turned manager/head coach is going to leave nothing to chance in terms of his bid to make a positive impression.
Passion. Enthusiasm. Pride in the shirt. That, coupled with having a good squad and players and tactical awareness, is clearly going to underpin Zenga’s approach and expectations from hopefully players and fans alike.
“I am so very proud and honoured to be here,” he said as he checked in at Molineux on Saturday to take up a place in the Director’s Box for Saturday’s friendly against Swansea.
“I am so emotional about it, because it is a huge club and a historic club.
“If you a passion for football you know about the history of this club – it is a famous club.
“There are changes with the new owners – it is a new era.
“I wish to do everything in the right way.
“We know we have hard work in front of us, but I am sure with the passion of the fans here, and their support, together we can achieve something important.
“What I can promise is that I will give everything, and all the passion and knowledge that I have I can pass to the players.
“The strongest idea for me about football is to always play until the ball is out and until the referee blows the final whistle.
“I want to play attacking football but we do have to remember there are always two teams on the pitch.
“You have to take into consideration how the other team play and sometimes they can play better than you.
“Our philosophy must be work, passion and to be proud about the emblem you have on the front more than the name that there is on the back. Play for the club.”
After a playing career which took him to the pinnacle both for club and country – and once saw him on the opposing substitute’s bench to Steve Bull in the third place play-off at the 1990 World Cup – Zenga has now been involved as a coach for over a decade.
He acknowledges he has been at many different clubs during that time, for many different reasons, but believes every job, every club and every league has its challenges.
“I have been a coach for more than ten years,” he says.
“I have changed teams for different reasons and now is not the time to talk about that.
“But every time my achievement is to work hard for the club and for the fans.
“Because I was a fan, for Inter Milano, and player for Inter Milano, and I know the sacrifices the fans make and what results mean to them.
“I want to transfer this idea to the players, to play harder, to work harder, and give 200 per cent of what they have inside.
“If they do that, and by the end of the game they haven’t won, it is because the opponent is better than us.
“But nobody can say to us ‘hey, you don’t play and you don’t work’, this must be our idea and this my idea from when I was younger.
“I want to improve myself every single day.
“I am passionate, 100 per cent, no, 200 per cent!
“I am a lucky man in life because I had a good talent and I was a player.
“I now continue in football as a coach.
“If you don’t have a passion you cannot do anything in life.
“And if you can live for football it is amazing.”
Zenga continues: “In my country in Italy, I was coach of three clubs.
“It is a very difficult league.
“But don’t think that to be a coach in the United Arab Emirates or Saudi Arabia is more easy.
“Every country has their own habits and culture and every club has their own ambitions.
“Ambitions for some clubs may be to win the Champions League, for some clubs want to stay in the division that they are, some clubs want promotion – everywhere is a difficult time!
“I have worked in three continents and now in eight countries, so I have some experience!
“And I am sure that experience is going to help me.”
With the new Sky Bet Championship season kicking off against Rotherham at the New York Stadium on Saturday (3pm), there is little time for Zenga to stamp his mark on the Wolves squad.
But he views the fact it has stayed pretty much together from last season as a positive, and also expects more new faces to be added on top of the recent duo of winger Helder Costa and defender Silvio.
“There is not much time before the season but it is good that most of the players were all here last year and playing together,” he added.
“This is one good point.
“If we have a problem we have to think about finding a solution and not too much about the problem.
“Already one solution is that the players all know each other – that is a good point.
“It is also normal that we have to improve our squad, we have to be competitive.
“We must create a squad that can give us a dream to achieve something.
“I am sure we will be announcing more new players soon.”
And finally, a message for the fans? That word ‘passion’ returns once again.
“I am here now, and my message to the fans is to help me and support me, and we are going to give you everything,” he declares.
“Together we can do something very important.
“I want to create enthusiasm and passion, I want to see the stadium full – this is my dream. “