Saturday December 14 2013
Mazzarri: 'Napoli fans appreciated me'

Walter Mazzarri returns to the San Paolo as an opponent for tomorrow’s Napoli-Inter and expects a mixed reception.

The Serie A showdown kicks off at 19.45 GMT, click here for a match preview.

“How will I be welcomed? Napoli have many fans, many of them will be in the stadium. The intelligent and balanced people will be able to recognise the merits and deficiencies of each person...

“It’s not easy to forget four years together and obviously my mind goes back to certain sensations, as I had many wonderful moments there.

“However, I prepare this game as well as possible for my lads, aware of the difficulties we’ll run into on the field.”

Napoli President Aurelio De Laurentiis has not been kind in his comments since Mazzarri left.

“I don’t like to talk much. I prefer to give the correct evaluation between the performance of a team and the actual worth of the team given to the Coach. The rest does not interest me.

“I started my career in Serie C2 and fans have always appreciated me. This means they understand what I did from the start of my mandate to the end. The supporters also have to respect the decisions made by the Coach as a man. I am a professional.”

The tactician agreed there were analogies between the two projects, as he started out at Napoli in their Year Zero and has again been given the task of beginning a new era at Inter.

“I took Inter from the start of the season, whereas with Napoli it was during a campaign. I understood over the last few days that the better you do, the more you raise the bar. Instead there ought to be a fairer way of evaluating the situation, without always demanding more, otherwise it becomes harmful.

“I can carry on this project as long as the fans are informed. This is Year Zero.”

The Nerazzurri need a boost after three consecutive Serie A stalemates, so this is a head-to-head for a place in the Scudetto hunt.

“I think we are already going beyond the rosiest of predictions and we deserved even more points. We made mistakes against Sampdoria and Parma, so worked specifically on those areas during the week. I think I did that training well and hope to see many improvements.

“I want to see the same side that played the first few games of the season, with good football that is balanced and intelligent. I want a different attitude from what we’ve seen recently.”

Mazzarri laughed off today’s reports in the Corriere dello Sport and Tuttosport that there are problems between President Erick Thohir and former patron Massimo Moratti.

“It’s funny, because I sensed the complete opposite. I have a lot of experience in football and know when someone creates allegations to stir up trouble among our staff. We are in harmony and in sync on everything. There’s no need to add more.”