Mazzarri lauds 'important' Pandev
Published : 15 Jan 2012 16:46:35
Napoli coach Walter Mazzarri paid tribute to in-form striker Goran Pandev ahead of Monday night's clash with Bologna at the San Paolo stadium in Naples.
Napoli are trying to stay in the hunt for a European finish having had an inconsistent start to the season which included victories over both Milan giants but defeats to Chievo, Catania and Parma.
They initially struggled to break down the league's smaller teams when they were forced to dictate the game, leaving them vulnerable to counter-attacks.
And when their much vaunted attacking triumvirate of Edinson Cavani, Ezequiel Lavezzi and Marek Hamisk weren't firing, or if one of them was missing, Napoli lost a huge element of their effectiveness.
But the arrival of Pandev on loan from Inter Milan, and his return to form, means Napoli now have greater options and the possibility of bringing a match-winner off the bench.
"He's an important player, like all the others. Here everyone knows what they have to do in their role," said Mazzarri.
"People said he was finished but it gives me pride to see him in these conditions.
"We did well in giving him the platform to do his best, something he didn't manage to do elsewhere."
Napoli may be in fine form, having scored nine goals in their last two matches, but Mazzarri hasn't been entirely staisfied with his defence.
"In the last few games we haven't been as ferocious in the defensive phase as I like us to be," said Mazzarri.
"There are some specific gameplans that we haven't committed to memory, as was the case last year.
"We need to rediscover these components to continue climbing up the table."