Napoli boss Walter Mazzarri has defended his cautious nature when it comes to fielding youth in Serie A.
The tactician has been criticised for not using the likes of Federico Fernandez, Ignacio Fideleff and January signing Eduardo Vargas with more regularity.
“Look at how many youngsters Milan and Juventus use,” the former Sampdoria tactician stated on Wednesday. “You can’t finish third with kids.
“At the end of the day Fernandez has played a lot more than we imagined. After all, what was I supposed to do? Leave out Paolo Cannavaro…
“You have to look at the objectives of a club before unleashing youngsters in Serie A. If you’re asking me to survive then all of the younger players can be used.
“However, if you want to finish in the top three then it becomes a lot more difficult.
“Don’t forget that after our loss to Chievo, I was asked why I had fielded so many younger players.”
Napoli spent a reported €11m on Chilean international Vargas at the start of this year, but the 22-year-old has played in just six Serie A games so far.
“He’s slowly growing,” Mazzarri continued. “He has some incredible characteristics, but I’d burn him if I put him in front of Ezequiel Lavezzi and Edinson Cavani in the pecking order.
“If you burn kids in an environment like this then you can’t field them again. We are in Naples, not Udine.”