Walter Mazzarri blasted his Napoli players for their Europa League embarrassment, targeted Sampdoria and aimed a sideswipe at Antonio Conte. “I don’t give a damn what Juventus do.”
The fiery Coach was more passionate than usual after Thursday’s shock 3-0 home defeat to Viktoria Plzen.
“The Europa League is not considered on a par with the Champions League, even if the clubs are of a high level,” he said in his Press conference.
“I had told my players not to feel the pressure to score at all costs, but at times they cannot stay concentrated or isolate themselves from everything else. It felt like a friendly at one point and the San Paolo was half-empty.
“It is evident that a Coach, after a performance like the one we saw on Thursday, expects a totally different level in the next game.
“The result is relative, but the important thing is to see a team that is hungry, that attacks the opponent and fights for every ball. We usually do achieve this, but it didn’t happen in the last match.
“It may seem like I am making tactical changes, but these are the same mechanisms and movements that we have always used. It is my fault we failed the last two games, because the team did not have the right approach.”
Napoli are still in second place behind Juventus, but Mazzarri warns not to get complacent.
“We have picked up many points so far, but just have to focus on doing as well as possible, game after game. We cannot think about what Juventus are doing ahead of us, but we should look over our shoulders because Milan and Lazio are closing in.”
Conte complained that Juventus were being made to play on Saturday evening after the Champions League tie with Celtic, but found absolutely no sympathy from Mazzarri.
“They played on Tuesday and are taking to the field again tonight. We played on Thursday and will play tomorrow afternoon. You do the math. I would’ve preferred to at least play in the evening, but I don’t want to talk about that now.
“Juventus? I don’t give a damn what Juventus do. We must focus only on ourselves and getting points. We have to focus on Sampdoria, as I know Delio Rossi well and they have been working on this match for a week to prepare.”
Lorenzo Insigne remains in doubt after coming down with flu symptoms, but Valon Behrami should be ready for a comeback after spraining his ankle.