Napoli must prioritise Serie A or Europa League, hints Mazzarri

The Tuscan tactician blamed bad luck for his side's second defeat in the Europa League this campaign, while defending his decision to again rotate his squad

Napoli boss Walter Mazzarri has defended his decision to field a largely second-string XI against Dnipro, but conceded that they are finding it difficult juggling both Serie A and the Europa League.

Thursday's team selection was much changed from the 2-0 league defeat to Juventus over the weekend but after two defeats and just the single win over AIK, the Partenopei now sit third in Group F and are in danger of not qualifying for the next round.

“We have to make choices. We were criticised when we played our best side in the Champions League and ended up fifth in Serie A and now we are criticised for rotating the squad," Mazzarri told reporters after the match. 

“It’s not as if I used a bunch of kids out there today, as we had players like Blerim Dzemaili and Juan Zuniga, while we have to give Christian Maggio a rest or he risks losing sharpness.

“People criticise and ask why we don’t use Lorenzo Insigne or Edu Vargas more often, but we saw tonight the difference in a step-up between Serie B or the Chilean league to European top-level football.

“We have taken this approach for the first three games. Seeing as we are still in the running for qualification, we will re-evaluate the situation."

Despite losing by a 3-1 scoreline, the former Sampdoria and Reggina boss felt that his side could have got something out of the match, had luck gone their way.

“It’s a great shame and we were unlucky, as we conceded in the first minute with a dubious free kick with Federico Fernandez being dragged down and created many scoring opportunities, especially in the second half,” he concluded.