De Laurentiis loves me too much, jokes Mazzarri

The Napoli supremo suggested in a recent interview that his side were better off with Rafa Benitez at the helm, prompting the current Inter boss' Valentines-themed riposte
Inter coach Walter Mazzarri has laughed off criticism of Napoli chairman Aurelio De Laurentiis, claiming "perhaps he loves me too much."

Mazzarri left the Stadio San Paolo at the end of last season, having guided the club to a second-place finish and a return to Champions League football.

In a recent interview to Radio Kiss Kiss, De Laurentiis appeared to take a swipe at Mazzarri, underlining how he felt Napoli had improved under new boss Rafael Benitez while also criticising some of his club's rivals.

However, Mazzarri is untroubled by his former boss' comments, hinting that De Laurentiis is simply bitter about his depature.

"It's Valentine's Day," he told a press conference on Friday.

"Perhaps he loves me too much. He tried to keep hold of me until the very end. I guess he was too in love."

Mazzarri was speaking ahead of Inter's trip to Fiorentina on Saturday, with the fifth-placed visitors looking to close the eight-point gap on their opponents in fourth.

Inter claimed a first win in six Serie A games with last weekend's 1-0 victory over Sassuolo, and Mazzarri warned that his team will face a stiff test against a Fiorentina side who reached the Coppa Italia final on Tuesday with a 3-2 aggregate win over Udinese.

"It's not going to be easy because Fiorentina are a great team and they know exactly how to cause problems for you," he added.

"They're doing magnificently and they're buoyed by enthusiasm too. They're also playing at home.

"We're up against them at a time when they're on a wave. It's clear to everyone just how hard tomorrow is going to be."