Napoli's Mazzarri says it's all going wrong
Published : 10 Apr 2012 15:17:16
Napoli coach Walter Mazzarri admitted on Tuesday that Napoli's season is unravelling at just the wrong time.
A month ago, the southerners were defending a 3-1 first leg lead over Chelsea in the Champions League last 16 and were charging up the Serie A table on the back of a run of five straight victories.
But since Chelsea's remarkable fightback to progress 5-4 on aggregate, Napoli have failed to win in four league encounters, losing their last two against Juventus and Lazio, leaving them fifth in the table and struggling for a Champions League berth.
"In Rome we played really well but unfortunately there were some individual errors which cost us," Mazzarri said of the 3-1 loss at Lazio.
"It's a moment in which everything is going wrong and that's how it went against Lazio. Even the referee got in on the act, making three mistakes that everyone saw.
"But we're a tight group, you can see that on the pitch, the lads are motivated, they're disappointed about the defeat and they want to bounce back."
With seven games left and Napoli six points off third-placed Lazio, Napoli's Champions League hopes for next season look slim.
But Mazzarri said qualification was never one of the club's aims this season, despite them finishing third last term, giving them a spot in Europe's premier club competition for the first time in more than 20 years.
Mazzarri says their participation in that competition has affected their league form.
"We knew the Champions League would use up a lot of energy and we have players who aren't used to that kind of pressure," he said. "Maybe getting knocked out affected us a bit but we've never spoken about third place, we've never had that pretention.
"As I've said before, this is a season of growth, even though we will try to win every game right to the end."