Saturday May 5 2012
Mazzarri: 'Lavezzi not first choice'

Walter Mazzarri has no qualms about dropping Ezequiel Lavezzi again for Napoli’s crunch match with Bologna. “Udinese are favourites for third place.”

The Coach surprised many in recent weeks by leaving Pocho on the bench and is set to do the same on Sunday afternoon.

“I will try to field the best possible formation. We have won three of our last four games,” pointed out Mazzarri in his press conference.

“Substitutions will also be important. If a top player like Goran Pandev is in good shape, then he can play, while another top player like Lavezzi can be ready to step in from the bench.

“The most important thing bar none is the result and performance of the team. Against Palermo our best players were Marek Hamsik, Pandev and Edi Cavani. At this moment they are the three first choice strikers.

“I am happy that Pocho is training hard and eager to get back on to the field. He has the right characteristics to change a game as a substitute.”

Napoli and Udinese are locked together in the race for a Champions League spot, followed by Lazio and Inter.

“Looking at the fixture list, Udinese are the favourites for third place, as we will be facing one of the form teams in Serie A right now. It is a crucial crossroads in our journey and we will fight to the end to achieve our aim.

“I’m happy there will be so many Napoli fans in Bologna, as they can be our extra weapon in this fight. Everyone wants to put in an extra special performance against Napoli and that is what worries me.”

Mazzarri is known for his fiery temper and animated behaviour on the touchline, so he was asked how he felt seeing Delio Rossi sacked for attacking Fiorentina player Adem Ljajic.

“I think it would be wise to introduce some strict rules to look after Coaches. Players should be more careful when they behave in a certain way, as they must be more responsible and respect the decisions of a Coach. I am on Rossi’s side.

“There have to be sanctions for the players when they show a lack of respect for their managers. There is no respect nowadays and they feel authorised to answer back any way they like. As Coaches we are always exposed to criticism, but never looked after. The clubs have to consider this too.”

Ljajic has been frozen out of the Fiorentina squad.

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