“The lads responded really well. In the past luck hasn’t been on our side and there were games we didn’t deserve to lose. Tonight’s victory was fully merited and I’m happy for the lads.” Walter Mazzarri gave his thoughts on Napoli’s 3-0 win over Fiorentina in the semi-finals of the Italian Super Cup:
“Fiorentina are a tough and well-drilled proposition. I watched back the game from earlier in the season at the Maradona which they won. Despite Napoli being at full strength Fiorentina saw a lot of the ball and made them suffer.
“This is why I focused more on protecting the team from the dangers Fiorentina can pose when in possession as well as trying to think of how to do them damage. It went well and I’m delighted with how the lads did.
“As for the formation change, I’m being honest when I say that I studied and admired [Luciano] Spalletti’s Napoli side. My plan is still to play with such a system. When playing a 4-3-3 you need players suited for the demands and in order to place with a high defensive line the team requires pacey players at the back, as was the case with Kim [Min-jae] last season.
“This evening I changed our formation to accommodate the characteristics of players I had available, because we’re still in a difficult situation. The change worked well and this means that we’ll have more strings to our bow moving forward this season.
“Regarding [Alessio] Zerbin, I think he’s really gifted. Unfortunately in Italy we have a tendency to play down the qualities of homegrown players. Zerbin is a real talent – he just needs to work on his finishing. He’s taken big strides forward as of late and he was among the goals tonight.
“I’m delighted for him, as I am for [Giovanni] Simeone, a forward who beyond just scoring is really selfless, a great guy, and someone who is always positive. Every coach wants a player like him at their disposal.”