Napoli coach Walter Mazzarri is rueing the timing of the international break as he prepares to field an under-strength side against Torino.
Mazzarri’s team sit nine points behind Serie A leaders Juventus with nine matches remaining, including Saturday’s encounter at the Stadio Olimpico di Torino.
The 51-year-old is unhappy with the break, which came for several World Cup qualifiers and friendlies, describing the list of his returning players as a ‘war bulletin’.
“I’m annoyed, like all the other coaches. I’m annoyed because I could not train my team. Everyone went away to play with their national teams in a moment when we had started to play well again,” Mazzarri said.
“I’m seeing them coming back. I’ve written their names down – it’s like a war bulletin.
“One arrived on Wednesday, one on Thursday. I still have to meet (Pablo) Armero and (Juan Camilo) Zuniga and you all know what happened to (Edinson) Cavani.
“(Hugo) Campagnaro came back injured, like (Morgan) De Sanctis. (Valon) Behrami is a bit weak but hopefully we’ll manage to recover him.”
With Juventus facing a tricky trip to inconsistent Inter Milan, Napoli could close the gap to Antonio Conte’s men with a win.
Mazzarri said he had told his squad to be ready to perform should they be called upon in Turin.
“I talked to my players yesterday and told them to be a close group and intelligent, to use all the resources they have to play a great game because we need a great performance against Torino tomorrow,” he said.
“I told them that everyone should consider himself ready to play. I still have to understand who the fittest players are for this game and I hope I won’t make mistakes.”
Being without Cavani would be a huge blow to Napoli and Mazzarri said he was unsure whether the league’s top goalscorer would be back in time.
Cavani was one of several Italy-based Uruguayans left stranded in Chile after their flight was cancelled following their World Cup qualifier.
“As far as Cavani is concerned, from the news I have he’s still on a plane and he’ll travel directly to Turin,” Mazzarri said.
“He won’t take part in today’s training session and I’ll see him directly in Turin.”