Walter Mazzarri couldn’t help but be disappointed after a 3-3 draw with Juventus. “I really thought we’d won it at 3-1.”
Napoli dominated the first half in a 3-3 thriller at the Stadio San Paolo, but were pegged back in the final stages.
“The glass is half-empty for me. We had a spectacular first half while our strength held out, but unfortunately we paid the price for the many fixtures. When the games notch up, you pay for it,” sighed Mazzarri.
“I didn’t want the half-time break to come, as our enthusiasm could’ve kept us going for another 15 minutes. You could see we weren’t putting enough pressure on.
“On the 3-1 with Goran Pandev’s goal, I honestly thought we had won it, even if we were struggling in terms of stamina.
“Big teams with more experienced players like Andrea Pirlo know how to slow the tempo and cool things down. We’ve still got to learn how to do that.
“It’s a shame, as we conceded the third goal with four players around Simone Pepe and he got a lucky deflection off one of ours. I really thought we’d won it.
“When Hugo Campagnaro is sharp, he won’t let anything past, but when tired you can make silly mistakes. We had a similar problem against Manchester City, as we knew we were facing a top club and lost sharpness due to fatigue, so the fear of not getting the points sets in.
“I always tell my players we can’t go at 1,000mph all the time, but it’s one thing to say and another to do. We must learn how to speed up at the right moment, otherwise we use up all our energy.
“We were on the ropes in the second half, as our legs started to give way. We had put Juventus under such a lot of pressure in the first half and I could see that, the same way I could see we lost our stamina after the break.”
Pandev had been disappointing so far this season, but bagged a well-taken brace in Edinson Cavani’s absence.
“Pandev is a top quality player, he played for world champions Inter. We’ve been unlucky this season, as he got injured just as he was starting to get into gear. I only played him for 60 minutes on Saturday and now he knows why, as he had to grow slowly.”
Napoli are nine points off leaders Juventus, but Mazzarri is setting no targets.
“We will continue giving our best to go as far as we can, the same way we did last season.”
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!