Mazzarri praises Napoli's never-say-die attitude

Napoli coach Walter Mazzarri paid tribute to his team's never-say-die attitude as they came back from the dead to beat Lazio 4-3 and move up to second in Serie A.

Updated: April 04, 2011 12:45 IST
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Milan: Napoli coach Walter Mazzarri paid tribute to his team's never-say-die attitude as they came back from the dead to beat Lazio 4-3 and move up to second in Serie A.

Edinson Cavani scored a hat-trick as Napoli remained hot on league leaders AC Milan's heels, pegging the gap between the pair to just three points with seven games to play.

And this result was in no small part due to Napoli's willingness to fight always to the final whistle, although they were also helped out by some errant refereeing.

Lazio had gone 2-0 up early in the second half before two goals in a minute levelled matters.

The visitors then had a valid goal by Cristian Brocchi wrongly ruled out before a Salvatore Aronica own goal gave them the lead moments later.

But Napoli were awarded a generous penalty with Lazio's Giuseppe Biava also being harshly sent-off and allowing Cavani to equalise from the spot before completing his hat-trick two minutes from time with a sublime finish.

And it was not the first time this season that Mazzarri's team found a grandstand finish to turn a game on its head.

"We're an infinite and well defined team because we play good football," he said.

"Given the performance, we deserved this victory without any doubt.

"We seemed cursed. Their first goal was thanks to a lucky rebound and then at 2-0 we looked finished but we came out of it with flying colours at the end.

"We really wanted it and played a great game."

And Mazzarri denied that the disallowed Brocchi goal - the referee had not seen his shot crash down off the bar and over the line before bouncing out - had changed the course of the game.

"It didn't influence the match given that a minute later we made up for the referee's mistake with Aronica's own goal," said Mazzarri.

"Soon we'll start thinking about the Bologna match but I want to thank the fans because certain performances are also thanks to them."

Despite their position as Milan's closest challengers, Uruguayan Cavani, who will be suspended against Bologna, refused to discuss the scudetto crown.

"Our behaviour is always the same, we try to win every game and to do our best and the points will be counted up at the end of the season," he said.

"That's the right way to behave and we're happy because we deserved to win.

"Lazio are a great team, we know what our limits are but we tried to do our best and now we'll celebrate."

Lazio's former Napoli coach Edy Reja received a warm reception from the home fans but was left frustrated by the decisions that went against his team.

"It's simple, when you come to Napoli and score three goals you can't lose the game," he said.

"The penalty was very generous, there were certain incidents that made me bitter.

"We made some mistakes at 2-0 and I'm disappointed with that because otherwise we played the way we should have.

"But we gave them too much space and that's not good enough."

Reja said he was left emotional by the warm reception he received from the Napoli fans but that didn't take away his dissatisfaction with the game.

"It's bitterness which remains because had we won we would have been in the Champions League positions, now it's harder," he said.

Lazio stay two points outside the top four after Udinese were beaten 2-0 at lowly Lecce.

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