Maurizio Sarri explained his tactical and personnel choices not only as Napoli beat Udinese, but also throughout the season.
He rotated the squad and used Jose Callejon as a centre-forward, but it was only when Lorenzo Insigne and Dries Mertens came off the bench that they found the decisive goal in this evening’s Coppa Italia Round of 16 tie.
“In terms of performance I am happy, because in the first half we had the right approach,” Sarri told Rai Sport.
“In a team, you don’t have four or five players like Insigne: he is a great player and it’s only normal he’ll be decisive, as he was tonight.”
This was the second consecutive victory between Serie A and the Coppa Italia, but Sarri took the opportunity to hit back at critics.
“They said we were ‘in crisis’ because we lost two games in three days. The truth is, we lost to a very strong Juventus side and had a period where we struggled to score goals, but that can happen over the course of a campaign. We never felt that we were having difficulty.”
Sarri rarely rotates his squad and several players who rarely get a chance looked very rusty this evening.
“In the first half, we had the usual routines, but with different players interpreting them. It’s my fault if Emanuele Giaccherini and Adam Ounas aren’t sharp, because Giaccherini is like a marathon runner who needs to play regularly, while Ounas can give his best in the last 15 minutes.
“I make my choices to win the games. If I’ve made these choices so far, it’s because I thought it gave us a better chance of winning. I won’t rule anything out in future, as I’ve changed my mind many times and can do it again.”