Mazzarri tells players to keep eyes off table
Napoli coach Walter Mazzarri told his players to ignore the Serie A standings after they went second with a hard-fought 1-0 victory at Genoa.
Napoli will lose second spot to either Lazio or Juventus before the weekend is over but the victory, and indeed the manner of it, at a notoriously difficult venue suggested Napoli are perhaps ready to take the next step.
Slovakia midfielder Marek Hamsik scored the only goal of the game, heading home a free-kick from Walter Gargano after only 25 minutes. But thereafter Napoli were forced to hang on grimly and they survived several goalmouth scares in the second half before sealing the three points.
And yet this, one of their best wins of the season, came without influential forward Ezequiel Lavezzi.
"We'll try to keep approaching games the way we did (yesterday), on a difficult pitch, against a tough team," said Mazzarri. "I like seeing the table like this but I always tell the players not to look at it and to keep going this way.
"I'm satisfied with how we played in the second half on a difficult pitch with Genoa giving it everything. We're improving in terms of character, we're always compact and together. Even when we're missing an important player like Lavezzi we didn't change our way of playing."
Napoli struggled earlier in the season, combining league and UEFA Europa League action but six wins in their last eight scudetto games has seen them surge into title contention.