Walter Mazzarri hit back at critics by pointing out Napoli “are doing better than last season” and has injury doubts for Edinson Cavani and Goran Pandev against Torino.
“The statistics back us up, as we have seven more points than at this stage last season. Last term the Serie A leaders were on a par with us in Week 10,” he said in his Press conference.
“I watch the other Leagues and we are on a par with the best teams around, like Manchester City or Real Madrid. As far as I’m concerned, our campaign is on the right track.”
The criticism stepped up a gear after the 1-0 defeat to Atalanta, which saw Inter leapfrog Napoli into second place.
“My lads reacted well in Bergamo, but unfortunately the ball would not go into the net. My players never give in and that is a positive sign. I was only ever disappointed with their attitude against Catania.”
There are injury concerns for tomorrow’s game with Torino, as Cavani returns from a thigh problem after missing two matches.
“I have confidence Cavani will be able to start, but we have to see the final training session. Pandev had an ankle problem and we’ll see how he’s doing.
“Edu Vargas is a player to be considered like all the others. We’ll see what to do with him in January. We don’t have time to help a young player grow.
“Lorenzo Insigne has important qualities and went very close to scoring against Atalanta. He feels responsibility on his shoulders, as he’s playing for a club where a draw or a defeat is treated like a tragedy. A player cannot have everything straight away and he is already at a strong level.”
Napoli have won all their home games this season, while Torino are still unbeaten on their travels.
“It’ll be a difficult match. Torino have a very particular way of keeping possession, so we must be very attentive. They haven’t lost away from home because they are good at wrecking the tempo of the opposition. It will require a lot of patience.
“The performance against Atalanta reminded me of last year, when we created a great deal and didn’t convert our chances.”
Think you know your Italian football? Share your knowledge, tips and comments to win cash prizes in OLBG's tipster competition - £11,000 to be won monthly!