Napoli Coach Maurizio Sarri admits “we’ve lost our way a little in attack and aren’t making the same movements as usual” after exiting the Champions League.
In order to qualify, the Partenopei needed to beat Feyenoord and hope Manchester City got the better of Shakhtar Donetsk, but both games ended 2-1 for the hosts.
“We let ourselves get badly affected by the news coming in from Ukraine, but in terms of mentality, that was a huge mistake. It would’ve been a great test to play even as if our result wasn’t futile,” Sarri told Mediaset Premium.
“The Europa League starts in two or three months and it’s a competition we must play with great determination. A team on a European level that doesn’t have much history or silverware cannot hold back or not honour it all the way.”
Something has certainly changed in the Napoli performances following back-to-back defeats with Juventus and Feyenoord.
“We’ve got to resolve some problems, because for the last two or three games the dominance in terms of possession has not translated into goals or even chances.
“I won’t say it is worrying, but we should think that there haven’t been the same movements we usually had and that makes us much less dangerous in attack.
“If movement off the ball is slowed down, then you inevitably lose something in your passing and circulation of the ball. Giving few options to whoever has the ball, naturally the football will become bland.
“We might lose confidence because we haven’t played our usual football over the last three games. Although we won against Udinese, it wasn’t the same performance we used to have.
“I think we’ve lost our way a little in attack. Tonight we could easily have been 3-0 up in the opening half-hour, then the result from elsewhere took the wind out of our sails.
“We’ve got to acknowledge we have a few problems right now and must work to resolve them.”
Did Sarri and Napoli genuinely believe Manchester City would beat Shakhtar Donetsk despite already being qualified?
“A game can change at any moment. Last season, Dinamo Kiev were already out and tore Besiktas apart. Clearly, it wasn’t a simple situation for them three days from the Manchester Derby, as despite all the hunger the Coach can try to introduce, there’s always the risk of complacency.”