Napoli boss Walter Mazzarri has criticised his team for the goal that they conceded during their 1-0 defeat to AC Milan at San Siro on Sunday night, because it was a move they had prepared for.
The only goal of the game came in the first half and it was that familiar pairing of Theo Hernandez and Rafael Leao who linked up, with the latter setting up the former and a lovely finish following.
It was Milan’s first clear opportunity of the game. Leao received possession down the left side while Theo continued a bombing run into the box and the winger picked him out perfectly. The full-back took a touch and slotted it under the onrushing Gollini to make it 1-0.
Both sides squandered opportunities but Rossoneri held on for a big three points – the first in Serie A at San Siro against Napoli since 2014 – and as a result the gap between the teams is now 17 points.
Mazzarri spoke to DAZN after the game to reflect on a difficult night for his team, who are now ninth in the Serie A table and seven points off fourth spot, with his comments relayed by MilanNews.
Is there some regret about the choice of formation in the first half?
“Milan pressed ferociously in the first half, in the second half they dropped a lot and we could have done even better. It was foreseeable that it could drop.
“In the second half we did well regardless of the formation. We didn’t deserve to lose today. If we went about it in a certain way it could even be three points against one of the strongest teams in the league.”
What about the goal conceded?
“We knew all week that Theo gave the ball and then moved vertically, centrally. I don’t like to say who made a mistake, but we had prepared for this move and it’s a bit annoying. It was predictable, it’s a classic Milan action, we should have been better at thwarting that through ball first.”
Kvaratskhelia had a more central role…
“He’s trying to find different spaces, where he goes he finds three opponents. Today he was hounded from all sides. They comes in too strong at times, they should be punished a little more.
“When they make the cage around him he can try to move centrally. But he can’t beat 3-4 players every time, his team-mates have to take away a man with the runs.”