Walter Mazzarri concedes that he couldn’t have hoped for a better comeback to the Napoli bench after securing a 2-1 victory against Atalanta.
Walter Mazzarri highlighted Napoli’s focus on the defensive line and emphasized the importance of providing precise instructions to Kvicha Kvaratskhelia.
Numerous uncertainties surrounded Napoli, especially following the Scudetto triumph, which was followed by a challenging period under Rudi Garcia. Garcia was dismissed last week, paving the way for Mazzarri’s return a decade after his previous stint with the club.
“A victory in this stadium, against this team, was not easy and will not be easy for anyone,” Mazzarri told DAZN.
Kvicha Kvaratskhelia opened the scoring, a goal nullified by Ademola Lookman’s header. However, substitute Eljif Elmas capitalized on a mistake by Marco Carnesecchi, who played out from the back, and tapped in with an assist from Victor Osimhen to secure the 2-1 victory. The match also saw both teams having a goal disallowed by VAR for offside in this eventful encounter.
“The first half we were almost perfect, but we lost our intensity too much after the restart and Atalanta naturally gave it their all. I had hoped for a better second half performance than this.”
Mazzarri admits opponents have leveled up their game against Napoli
Napoli sacked Rudi Garcia after eight wins, four draws and four defeats between Serie A and the Champions League.
“What I said in my first press conference was true, this is a team that dominated last season, played some of the best football in Europe and with players who were not accustomed to being in this position. So there was obviously going to be some sort of a dip after that.
“On top of that, all the opponents step up a level because they know that they are facing the Champions of Italy. It was always evident this was going to be a complicated campaign in those circumstances.
“I know a little something about tactics too and the players have done well to take on those lessons quickly. We worked on the defensive line, as I had seen in recent games that the defence sat too deep. We were tighter, more compact and I honestly didn’t expect to see these concepts put into practice so quickly against a super team like Atalanta.
“The only reason I didn’t use this system before was that my teams didn’t really have the players suited to it. The players really paid attention in training and wanted to learn as much as possible.”