Wednesday February 14 2018
Sarri: ‘Europa League is madness!’

Napoli Coach Maurizio Sarri says the Lega Serie A “doesn’t help us” for the Europa League - “RB Leipzig played before, then they’re playing on Monday”.

The Partenopei still lead Serie A by a point from Juventus, and they return to European action tomorrow night before facing Spal on Sunday afternoon.

“It’s a manifestation on the edge of madness, albeit with the charm of Europe,” Sarri fumed in his pre-match Press conference.

“We play at 21.05 on Thursday evening, we’re back on the pitch 60 hours later. The Lega doesn’t help us.

“Leipzig played before, then they’re playing on Monday. In terms of stress it’s on the edge of madness but it’s the secondary European competition and it always has charm.

“It could bring us stress in the long run, but right now we’re focused on tomorrow evening.”

Napoli’s aim is to win the Scudetto this season, and Sarri was frank about the motivation for the Europa League.

“We have to find it. We have 18 players with the three goalkeepers, there are numerical issues but we’ll try to make a serious, competitive game without affecting the league.

“We’re focused solely on this game, but we’ll face a team that thrills me when I watch them. They’re a fun team, nice to watch, with speed and technique.

“Their team is brilliant, they have all the pace in the world and their wingers have quality.

“I was surprised they went out of the Champions League, they had the quality to have their say. They’re a really strong team.

“It’s a step forward to take, but our main focus is on something else, that’s clear. There’s also a reason you have to become great in your own country before growing in Europe.

“The first objective was to become competitive in Italy, Europe is second. This year we’ve been struggling with the European mentality, it’s not just our fault but it’s also induced because all around us there’s so much desire for results in Italy.

“This must also concern us too though, up to a certain point.

“We’ll think of tomorrow without looking at anything else. I’m already having difficulty giving European motivation, talking about the league would only be further demotivation.”

The Stadio San Paolo will be almost deserted, with just 6,000 tickets sold so far.

“It’s the mutual feeling that you breathe in,” Sarri shrugged.

“Everyone feels it, I hope the club has done everything for people to change their mind and allow us to play in the usual passionate atmosphere.”

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