Champions League Again!By: Neil | May 6th, 2013
After a one year absence Napoli has returned to the Champions League. It’s a much deserved return: the Partenopei have been the 2nd best team in Serie A, and need just one more win against Bologna, Siena, or Roma to guarantee a 2nd place finish. I am now officially pro Mazzarri, as the team is playing its best calcio at the end of the year which is what you need to compete for the very top places. Sure, the Europa League and Coppa Italia were sacrificed along the way, but it will be worth it next season when we see the team play against the best European clubs. This forum has been very critical of Mazzarri at times, and I’ve often been the one leading the way. But a 2nd place finish is the best this team can achieve right now, and it’s Mazzarri who has the ragazzi playing up to the the fullest potential.
So where does this leave Napoli for next season? It’s almost impossible to suggest now that there is a better manager to take over the project. Napoli have finished in the Champions League spots in 2 of Mazzarri’s 3 complete seasons in charge. In his first partial season he brought the team up to 6th from about 11th or 12th, and that is no small achievement.
If Napoli are hoping to compete on three fronts again next season certain areas need to be strengthened. But Mazzarri has a solid foundation in place with the current group of players. I really think Champions League qualification will be decisive in Cavani staying. In fact, I can’t imagine any starter wanting to play elsewhere except Campagnaro who already knows where he will play next season. So it will probably be the same titolarissimi returning next year, with maybe one or two changes. Let’s hope the manager returns as well.
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