Massacred Mazzarri unrepentant despite inquisition
Napoli coach Walter Mazzarri refused to accept criticism on Friday for his sweeping team changes that resulted in a midweek defeat at Chievo.
Speaking ahead of Saturday's clash with Fiorentina at the Sao Paolo in Naples, Mazzarri said the criticism he received was predictable.
But he insisted that he had done the right thing in making six changes to his first team, including leaving out his first choice attacking triumvirate of Edinson Cavani, Marek Hamsik and the injured Ezequiel Lavezzi.
"I expected this massacre after last year's miracle (qualifying for the Champions League)," said a defiant Mazzarri.
"I'm happy that there's this inquisition against me, shoot me!
"As for the rest, the better we do, the higher the bar of expectation is raised and hence when we lose it's news.
"This makes me proud."
Napoli have an appalling record against Chievo at the best of times and lost home and away against the Veronese last season.
But Mazzarri said his squad is stronger than last term and given their Champions League commitments -- they host Villarreal on Tuesday -- he needs to use it.
"Compared to last season we have a bigger and better equipped squad," he added.
"If I'd played the same players who played against AC Milan and Manchester City I would have risked suffering injuries.
"Turnover is the secret which last season carried us to Champions League qualification, winning against Lecce, Brescia and Parma despite not playing all our first choice players."
One of those players brought in was Argentine defender Ignacio Fideleff, whose mistake led to the only goal of the game for Chievo.
But Mazzarri defended his new signing.
"Maybe I could have waited longer to make changes (it was only after using his substitutes and bringing on first choice players that Napoli conceded)," said Mazzarri.
"Unfortunately I had to bring them forward due to (Christian) Maggio suffering a muscular problem.
"Otherwise I would have taken off Fideleff and brought on Pablo Cannavaro.
"The Argentine was the best player on the pitch and that makes it even more disappointing that he was the one who made this unfortunate mistake that cost us the game."
Fideleff will get another chance but Mazzarri revealed his first choice forwards will all play, as long as they're fit.
"If Lavezzi can make it then yes (all three will play), if he's available he'll certainly play.
"Fiorentina are very good, it's enough to read the names they have and I'm disappointed (forward Alberto) Gilardino can't play.
"It will be a very difficult game, they have nothing to lose and the knowledge that they have excellent individuals.
"We'll have to play to our best while giving a rest to the few who haven't had that chance yet, such as (Salvatore) Aronica.
"(Fideleff) deserves another chance."
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