Maurizio Sarri admits Napoli “care more about Serie A than the Champions League,” and considers the draw with Inter “two dropped points.”
Samir Handanovic heroics ended the run of 13 consecutive Serie A victories, including all eight this season, but the Partenopei remain unbeaten and two points clear at the top of the table.
This was the first time Napoli failed to score since a 2-0 home loss to Atalanta on February 25.
“Handanovic is an extraordinary goalkeeper, at the moment one of the best in Europe, so it was only normal he’d be extraordinary tonight,” the Coach told Mediaset Premium.
“The team played consistently, with a wonderful first half in terms of pressing and winning back possession in their own half.
“We made some adjustments to see if we could keep that pressure going. We kept 75 per cent of territorial domination against a very strong opponent, so I think we did well.
“We had a few crosses that didn’t find enough options in the box. I also saw some poor choices, as some players went for goal rather than passing to send a teammate clear. We weren’t quite as sharp as usual.
“Considering the game, the shots on target and territorial domination, we are to consider it two dropped points tonight. However, if we continue with this level of performance, few teams will be able to get points against us.”
Luciano Spalletti said that Sarri, who used to work in a bank, would’ve become the Minister for the Economy if he had stayed in that area. What role would the Inter boss have?
“Seeing him tonight, he must be the Minister for the Defence.”
The big doubt was over Lorenzo Insigne, who limped off with a thigh problem during Tuesday’s 2-1 Champions League defeat to Manchester City, but managed to start tonight.
“Yesterday Insigne had a bit of a training session, this morning he worked with the team and said he no longer felt any pain. It was such a big game that we decided to risk him, even if the medical staff told me that it wasn’t that big a risk.
“To be honest, I see my team more motivated in Serie A compared to Europe. We played at a high level of determination for 95 minutes, whereas in Manchester it was for 55 minutes.
“City have an extraordinary technical and tactical level, but the feeling I get is that the players care more about Serie A. The Champions League is tiring, but it’s also a wonderful thing to take part in and we ought to give it our best. We’ll play whatever price we need to.
“I think it’s a sub-conscious thing. If in our minds we feel more competitive in Serie A than in the Champions League, that might be a difficult thing to shake off. After all, we don’t have that much of a chance to go all the way in Europe, but we do want to put in a great tournament performance.”