Napoli tonight face Basel looking to keep their unbeaten start to season 16 in tack. In whats been a surprise turn around of fortune in some quarters, manager Mullan thinks the best is yet to come.
“Am I surprised by the start? No is the simple answer, we’ve improved by the week since I joined and we’ve had a really good summer in terms of our transfer business. I expect our best form to come in the second half of the season, once this group settles. Its been wholesale changes and it takes time to gel. We set a 15 point target from the first 10 games, and we’ve got 9 from the first 3 games, which is an excellent return. We have weaknesses in the certain areas, but we also have big strengths too, in particular in midfield. On our day, i believe we are match for anyone in this division. Last season we beat the teams that went up, were solid defensively, but struggled to score goals. Its the consistency we seek now, as does most teams. We’ve another tough game tonight against Basel. They have’nt started the season well, so we need to ensure their season does not start tonight against us. We will continue we our squad rotation policy, and will no doubt make 3 or 4 changes tonight from the side that beat Flamengo. I want to keep it fresh, I want us to be non predictable and I want to show my wealth of experience in building successful teams. I’ve won trophies and promotions at every team I’ve ever managed in the last 12 years. Sometimes I will do transfer deals others don’t agree with, which appear i’m giving far more away than i’m getting. However there is always a plan and method behind such decisions. Its about winning games and trophies, for me, and not having a collection of stars or young talent which has the promise, but wins nothing. You can build the greatest squad ever, but if you have no silverware to show for it, in the end you’ve failed. Success has and always will be measured by results and achievements in my opinion. Napoli are coming back from some drastic management from previous managers. The squad I inherited was amongst the worse i’ve ever had. No youth set up, all the star players sold, literally no tradeable assets, yet playing in division 1 with a division 4 squad. No one wanted this job, it was a mammoth task, and still is. However little shoots of hope are appearing, we are on an 8 match unbeaten run, we’ve some really good players now who can do a job in division 3. We’ve 3 or 4 youth players with big futures, and the gap in ratings across 40 or so players is not a big gulf which allows us to rotate, but also creates good competition for places. We were given odds of 28-1 for promotion which is fair given how far this club has fallen, however regardless of others ruling us out, or failing to recognise the job being done here, I have strong belief in this squad. Its going to be tough, but my target is that top 6 and an opportunity of trying to get promoted this season. Our start has given us a great platform, we need to take each game as it comes and try and improve or learn from the last game. There are some excellent teams and managers in division 3, but we are up for the fight. No one is going to get an easy 3 points at Napoli this season. They need to be up for a scrap, and they need to earn it. Yes, we will lose games we should win, and win games perhaps we should lose, however we will go into every game with no fear and with the sole purpose of trying to win that match”