Maurizio Sarri wants Napoli to improve their mentality ahead of the trip to stuttering Inter and is frustrated at questions on his future.
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“Kalidou Koulibaly was right when he said we must believe that we can win them all. It might not be enough to finish second, but that doesn’t depend on us,” said the Coach in his Press conference.
“Inter made very good progress under Stefano Pioli. There has been a wobble, so the club opted for a training retreat. This is a strong squad, they could react vehemently and it’ll be a dangerous game for us. Nobody can expect an easy time of it at San Siro.
“We have a phenomenal attacking potential, so just need to find a way to stop conceding stupid goals and find more defensive stability.
“I hear a lot of rubbish on how to resolve that problem, like removing a midfielder and adding another striker. It’s madness. We can play like that when the opposition are struggling, something we’ve already done and proved. I want to set a limit on the number of back-passes to the goalkeeper.”
Sarri was asked about the squad rotation in midfield between Allan, Marko Rog, Piotr Zielinski, Jorginho and Amadou Diawara.
“Amadou had a dip at a certain stage of the season, but he’s getting back on track. Piotr came off the Euros and played around 60 games when he had been accustomed to 40, but his fitness levels are improving too.
“At the moment any of the six who play, the response will be positive. Of course, Marek Hamsik is world class and he definitely starts. If he rests, it’s in the final 15 minutes.”
Second-placed Roma face Lazio in the early Sunday kick-off, but Sarri wasn’t entertaining questions about that result.
“We’ve got to focus on our own matches and not what the others do. We want to put in a great performance, then from tomorrow evening can think about Cagliari without any other thoughts to use up our energy.
“As a team, we have improved in many areas, as we react differently to last season. We don’t get the approach wrong to a match, we are more determined. I am proud of the progress we have made, but there is a problem to resolve, because when we take the lead, we tend to make avoidable mistakes.
“We thought this would be easier to resolve, but it isn’t. When we’ve got the game in hand, we need to control it with even more ferocity. If we don’t resolve this issue with determination and a clear head, we will continue to drop points.
“The performance at Sassuolo says we deserved to win, but that hasn’t always happened this year.”
This week Sarri was given the Enzo Bearzot Award as best Coach, but confessed he “would’ve preferred three points against Sassuolo. Awards are for the desk, whereas I live on the field.
“I am not a manager, I am a Coach. I’d struggle to be a manager, to be honest, as the time and mental energy I spend on my work wouldn’t allow me to do anything else.
“I have a contract and I am at the club’s disposal, so I don’t see what the problem is. If the President is not happy, I can resign. If I was the one who wasn’t happy, I’d make my voice heard. I have a contract, so all this talk about it seems frankly strange.
“The project is not just the Coach, but also the lads who represent it. Can Napoli target the Scudetto? At this moment it is something we can dream about, but not plan for.”
Do those ‘lads’ include Dries Mertens, currently in the middle of contract extension talks?
“Certain players represent an era. If they are part of the era, good, otherwise that era is over.”
Sarri was also asked about the bizarre story that Corentin Tolisso and Maxime Gonalons turned down a move to Napoli because they were scared by the TV series Gomorrah.
“They don’t know what they missed. I feel bad for them.”
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