A below-par display from Inter saw their 100% Europa League record come to an end at the San Siro, but Mazzarri believes that a difficult run of fixtures is to blame for his side's struggles.
"We are in an emergency situation and playing every three days meant we weren't as sharp as usual," the Nerazzurri boss told Mediaset.
"Today we had to change a great deal and considering the situation I think it was a good performance. The important thing was to continue picking up points.
"Of course I'd love champagne football but I don't see many doing that nowadays. Saint-Etienne are a team to be respected."
Inter return to action against Cesena in Serie A on Saturday.