Italian Serie A

Napoli chief blasts "immature" players

May 9, 2011
By ESPNsoccernet staff

Furious Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis has ripped into his players following a 2-1 defeat at relegation-threatened Lecce on Sunday, claiming they are not fit to wear the Azzurri shirt.

Daniele Corvia of Lecce
GettyImagesDaniele Corvia of Lecce celebrates after scoring the opening goal against Napoli

Javier Chevanton's controversial late strike earned last season's Serie B champions Lecce a vital victory at the Stadio via del Mare.

Napoli, who earlier this season were challenging for the Serie A title, need to take one more point from their final two matches to secure a Champions League berth but De Laurentiis was not happy with the performance at the weekend.

De Laurentiis told Italian television channel Rai 2: "The game was decided by a last-minute goal, it is true. But it was a performance that made me very sad.

"A goal such as Chevanton's indicates the presence of a team very immature and not ready to compete at the highest levels. We did not play as a cohesive group and were not able to concentrate at the decisive moments.

"The players were not worthy to wear the jersey and to represent the colours of Napoli."

Coach Walter Mazzarri said his side had been "naive" but felt the loss was harsh. He told club website: "The team were inaccurate and naive, this is true, but showed the right determination. Perhaps we were a bit tired from the heat, but we did not deserve this [defeat].

"Now we look ahead. We will try to get the most out of the final two matches [against Inter Milan and Juventus] and finish as high as possible."

Napoli will head into Sunday's big match against second-placed Inter without star striker Edinson Cavani, who was sent off on Sunday night for two bookable offences.