Walter Mazzarri says Napoli are finding it difficult to compete in Serie A and the Europa League after a weakened team lost to Dnipro.
The team selection for Thursday’s match was much changed from a 2-0 league defeat to Juventus on Saturday.
They went down 3-1 in the Ukraine, and after two defeats and just a single win over AIK, Napoli sit third in Group F and are in danger of failing to qualify for the next round.
Dnipro are top of Group F on nine points, with PSV Eindhoven second on four points and Napoli a further point worse off.
“We have to make choices,” Mazzarri said.
“We were criticised when we played our best side in the Champions League and ended up fifth in Serie A and now we are criticised for rotating the squad.
“It’s not as if I used a bunch of kids out there today, as we had players like Blerim Dzemaili and Juan Zuniga, while we have to give Christian Maggio a rest or he risks losing sharpness.
“People criticise and ask why we don’t use Lorenzo Insigne or Edu Vargas more often, but we saw tonight the difference in a step-up between Serie B or the Chilean league to European top-level football.
“We have taken this approach for the first three games. Seeing as we are still in the running for qualification, we will re-evaluate the situation.”
Despite losing 3-1, former Sampdoria and Reggina coach Mazzarri feels his side could have got something out of the match, had luck gone their way.
“It’s a great shame and we were unlucky, as we conceded in the first minute with a dubious free kick, with Federico Fernandez being dragged down and (we) created many scoring opportunities, especially in the second half,” he said.