Napoli boss Walter Mazzarri knew Sunday’s clash with Catania would not be easy – but was pleased to come away with the points.
Mazzarri’s side had to back up just three days after a 0-0 Europa League draw with Villarreal but managed to claim all three points to move back into second on the Serie A table, after Inter momentarily filled the position with a win on Saturday.
Despite Edinson Cavani’s first-half penalty miss, Juan Zuniga was able to score the all-important goal to secure another three points in a 1-0 win for Napoli.
“In football there are no easy games, especially if you are coming off a midweek match,” Mazzarri said.
“Napoli did their duty, while Catania only defended in the first half. We were in control for an hour and I’m happy with the way my lads interpreted the game.”
Mazzarri was pleased with the impact of Zuniga, who made a rare start, and said his side only felt the pressure of just having a one-goal lead in the dying stages when Napoli goalkeeper Morgan De Sanctis made a series of saves.
“Zuniga has made incredible progress, he is very reliable and a co-starter. Catania clammed up because they’d be happy with a draw, but only put us under pressure at the end, when we got tired,” he said.
Catania were held goalless for the fourth time in six games and afterwards, manager Diego Simeone admitted he was worried about his side’s failure to score.
“Our intentions were to tire them out with Martinho and Ezequiel Schelotto on the flanks, then Bergessio and Papu Gomez moving constantly to give no reference points,” Simeone said.
“Unfortunately, their goal changed our plans to play the long game, hoping for Napoli’s fitness levels to fall away. The second half was good, but it is worrying that we can’t seem to score goals.”