Maurizio Sarri is not concerned by Napoli’s rough start and visits old club Empoli. “I’m a project Coach.”
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The Partenopei have only one point from two games against Sassuolo and Sampdoria, so this return to the Castellani has so much more than nostalgia riding on it.
“I am happy to be back in Empoli and it feels a shame to play against them, but the lads are growing and we cannot underestimate our opponents. Don’t forget four months ago these players conceded four goals here,” said the tactician in a Press conference.
That 4-2 demolition of Rafa Benitez’s side is what helped Sarri get the Napoli job, but it’s no short-term solution.
“Changing system is quick, but changing the whole idea of your football is difficult. The problems we’ve had are not due to physical fitness. Conceding two goals in quick succession is not a dip in concentration, it’s a paralysis. The team simply panics.
“I expect the team to take control and be able to get through those moments in which they don’t feel that they are dominating.
“The players admitted to me they struggle to find motivation and focus against the smaller sides. Just admitting it is already a step forward in recognising the problem.
“Anyone who hires a Coach with my characteristics has to accept the bad with the good. I am a project Coach and I’m not worried by one point from the first two games, because I’m used to it.”
Gonzalo Higuain has many options as a strike partner, so will it be Dries Mertens, Jose Callejon or Manolo Gabbiadini?
“I spoke to Gabbiadini and he needs to do a little more to convince me. I like the player, he can go in tomorrow or on Thursday in the Europa League, but I expect a strong response.”
Vlad Chiriches and Elseid Hysaj have recovered, but Jonathan de Guzman and Juan Camilo Zuniga are dropped again.
Napoli squad for Empoli: Reina, Rafael, Gabriel, Maggio, Hysaj, Henrique, Koulibaly, Albiol, Chiriches, Ghoulam, Strinic, Jorginho, Valdifiori, David Lopez, Dezi, Allan, Hamsik, El Kaddouri, Insigne, Mertens, Gabbiadini, Callejon, Higuain