NEWS
Friday September 23 2011
Mazzarri 'expected Napoli criticism'

Walter Mazzarri “expected to be massacred in the papers” after Napoli's defeat, but points out they are still doing better than Milan and Inter.

The Partenopei went from Scudetto favourites to torn apart by critics following the 1-0 loss to Chievo on Wednesday night.

“I expected to be massacred in the papers after our first defeat, whether or not I rotated the squad,” smiled Mazzarri.

“From now on people think Napoli ought to dominate wherever they play. I remind you that two years ago, more or less in the same squad, we only got one win away from home.

“I always told my players that we can do well and, if we give our best, then we can achieve great results. The side pushed very hard in the last three games, so it was only normal we'd pay a price for that.”

Napoli welcome Fiorentina on Saturday evening, but Mazzarri is still looking back at his decision to change seven of the starting XI against Chievo.

“My only regret is that I would've substituted Ignacio Fideleff earlier, but with Christian Maggio's injury, it messed up my plans. Fideleff was one of the best men of the night, but only made that mistake because he's not match fit for the full 90 minutes.

“The truth is we could've won at Chievo, having given them fewer opportunities than Cesena. I always consider my choices carefully and with a packed schedule it's essential to make some changes.”

The ‘three tenors' Ezequiel Lavezzi, Edinson Cavani and Marek Hamsik return to the starting XI for tomorrow's trip to Florence.

“Fiorentina have had a strong start and I consider this a terrible test for us, especially as it is part of a long run of very tough games. We must always be in peak condition.”

Think you know your Italian football? Share your knowledge, tips and comments to win cash prizes in OLBG's tipster competition - £11,000 to be won monthly!

TODAY'S FRONT PAGES