Napoli riding high

It may well be that a close-run game against Inter that ended up with Napoli dropping out of the Coppa Italia, turns into one of the greatest pieces of luck for them all season.

There is no disgrace in losing to the champions of Italy and Europe on penalties, even if you would have expected Ezequiel Lavezzi to have buried his chance to put Napoli ahead in the shoot-out.

In truth, Maradona's heirs created the best chances, and should have won the game long before the final whistle of extra-time went, with Cavani and Hamsik both going close to sealing a famous victory for the Azzurri.

But the loss will not hit the team as bad as one might think - in fact it may well help the Napoli cause. The players can only gain in confidence after matching (and outplaying) a world-class Inter team at home, and having lost, they now have 5 fewer games to get through - with the double-legged Quarters and Semis side-stepped.

At a time when they are trying to concentrate on a high-placed finish in Serie A, and a Uefa Cup run, this sudden drop in midweek fixtures will undoubtedly allow Mazzarri and the players to re-group for the big games each week, rather than trying to string a team together that compromises their challenge for the title.

Realistically, the Serie A title may be a step too far for Napoli this year, but if you'd have offered us a finish in the Champions League spaces (ahead of notable teams such as Juve, Firentina and Inter) any scugnizzo would have ripped your arm off.

With the Champions League comes the chance to dream. Whilst we have a top class attacking line of Hamsik, Lavezzi and Cavani, there is space in the team for more quality players, who would surely flock to the peninsula should we be playing in the biggest and best competition in europe.

When the tears have dried, Lavezzi might just have been doing us a favour after all.