Walter Mazzarri warns Juventus that Napoli “will not be happy with a draw” in Turin on Saturday and has a message for referees too.
They are joint leaders going into next week’s Scudetto showdown and meet for the first time since the hugely controversial Italian Super Cup in Beijing on August 11, which saw Juve emerge 4-2 winners in extra time after red cards for Goran Pandev and Juan Camilo Zuniga.
“Is it decisive? Absolutely not,” Mazzarri told the Corriere dello Sport. “Anyone who loses will have time to make up for it. We are only in Week 8 and there are another 30 after this, so the journey is a long one.
“Plus don’t forget we meet again at the San Paolo and that, in my view, could well be considered decisive.
“Juve are like Barcelona, in that they don’t let you breathe and when losing possession try to win it back immediately. However, the Champions League does sap energy from a side.
“Would I be happy with a draw? Absolutely not. I want to infuse the squad with a winning mentality. We have already achieved something remarkable putting ourselves in this situation by building results and maintaining a strong club.
“When I arrived my promise was that this team would always have soul. I think I maintained that promise and often the fans applauded us even after defeats.
“We are more mature this season, as last year we’d concede goals at the first sign of trouble. We have also replaced Pocho Lavezzi and Walter Gargano with smart buys like Lorenzo Insigne and Valon Behrami.”
President Aurelio De Laurentiis was deferred to the Disciplinary Commission this week for the comments he made about referees and the Federation after the Super Cup.
“After the Super Cup, I tried to speak in a constructive fashion about what had happened,” continued Mazzarri.
“Now do not make me add any more. I will only say that the important thing is for uniformity in the decision-making process. There are rules and they must be applied the same way for every team.”
Think you know your Italian football? Share your knowledge, tips and comments to win cash prizes in OLBG's World Cup tipster competition - £10,000 to be won!