Mazzarri plays down Cavani absence

ROME, April 9, 2011 (AFP) - Napoli coach Walter Mazzarri insists his side can overcome the absence of top scorer Edinson Cavani at Bologna on Sunday and stay in the Serie A title race.

Uruguayan Cavani has scored exactly half of Napoli's 50 goals in the league this season raising questions as to whether the southerners have enough goals in their team to win without him.

But Mazzarri is confident they will manage.

"I'm convinced that even without such an important player this team is able to match anyone," he said.

"But without offending anyone it would have been better to have him because he's doing very well at the moment."

However, Mazzarri acknowledges that he must overcome his own personal Bologna demons if his side are to prevail.

"As a coach I've always lost away to Bologna. I expect a tough match against a team and coach (Alberto Malesani) who deserve to be praised."

But Mazzarri was also keen to point out the magnitude of his side's achievement this season.

With just seven games left they are second, three points behind leaders AC Milan and two points ahead of champions Inter Milan.

Meanwhile the likes of traditional heavyweights Juventus and Roma have long dropped out of the title running, and indeed even Champions League qualification next season.

"We have a lot of attention and pressure on us and that's reason to be proud as is the fact that we're here, making life difficult for the challengers, the Milan clubs, and Juve and Roma," he added.

And Mazzarri poured scorn on rumours that he was being courted by other teams.

"I've heard that I'm being offered to other teams ... but I tell you that no one has come looking for me, I'm very happy at Napoli," he said.

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