Walter Mazzarri reveals he “studied Juventus and learned” how to squeeze past Sampdoria, then explains why he was so angry at being sent off.
“There was a nasty foul right in front of me and I spread my arms to highlight how bad it was. The referee threatened me, then the fourth official told him to send me off. I prefer not to talk about it.”
Napoli earned a hard-fought 1-0 win at Marassi thanks to Edinson Cavani’s penalty, which also saw Daniele Gastaldello red-carded.
“We have matured, as last season we would’ve lost a game like this. Compliments to Sampdoria for making life very difficult for us, but they couldn’t press us like that for the entire 90 minutes. We should’ve taken our chances better, too.”
Sampdoria protested at the penalty, as Gastaldello’s challenge on Marek Hamsik was on the very edge of the area.
“The replays show the contact was right on the line, which is part of the box. I know the rules, so I wanted to point that out,” replied Mazzarri.
“Last year the Champions League made us drop a few Serie A points, but that experience helped us to grow. Now we are less careless and sluggish, while we also improved on set plays.
“We want to go forward in the Europa League and try not to let it affect our domestic form as well. Great teams must know how to suffer and hit at the right moment.
“I studied Juventus and learned that they never get distracted, play games without leaving any space to their opponents and play consistently.”