Maurizio Sarri confessed he “can’t” rotate Lorenzo Insigne and hopes Manchester City can help keep Napoli in the Champions League.
The Partenopei swept Shakhtar Donetsk aside 3-0 at the Stadio San Paolo tonight with goals from Lorenzo Insigne, Piotr Zielinski and Dries Mertens.
This put them back in the running for qualification and with a superior head-to-head record with Shakhtar, but to reach the Round of 16 they must beat Feyenoord and hope Manchester City get the victory in Ukraine.
“Tonight’s performance, as soon as we raised the level of pressing from the midfielders, was good,” the Coach told Mediaset Premium.
“We struggled for about 30-35 minutes, as they pass it well, but already saw us starting to break up their moves from the back towards the end of the first half.
“We are glad of the performance and to have proved we care about Europe too, but unfortunately it’s not all in our hands. We need to win in Holland, then wait and hope.”
Kalidou Koulibaly was suspended, Faouzi Ghoulam injured and Mario Rui not fully fit, but Napoli still kept a clean sheet.
“It was a good overall defensive performance. I was pleased with Christian Maggio’s performance, as he hadn’t played for a long while and has been in there more regularly now. It’s to his credit that he’s in such good physical and psychological shape.
“Now we have to take the game to Feyenoord and hope City score a few goals in Ukraine.
“We had the feeling they could be vulnerable on through balls. We got the timing wrong often in the first half, putting our forwards offside. We did it better after the break and got something out of it.”
Insigne broke the deadlock with a magical right-foot curler into the far top corner.
“This is Lorenzo. He has improved so much over the last three years, become a world class player who I think has to be left out of squad rotation too, because he is so important. We can give him a rest for the final 20 minutes, but to drop him from the start – I can’t do it.”
Sarri was spotted on the bench taking notes within 23 seconds of kick-off, so what did he have to write down so early?
“It was the shopping list for tomorrow,” he joked.
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