Maurizio Sarri feels “a great debt” to Napoli, and the only way to repay it “is to give my best”.
The Partenopei Coach received the Premio Maestrelli today for his work at the San Paolo, and he spoke to Montecatini Terme after accepting the award.
“We played a great game against Inter at San Siro,” Sarri inisted, when asked if his team felt downhearted when they slipped four points behind Juventus.
“We had it under control and the fact we didn’t win left a bitter taste. That means we’re doing well, we, the fans and the media are getting used to extraordinary achievements!
“We can’t be prisoners to anything, we have a path to follow and we’re not a team that wins without playing well because of our characteristics, we’re about good play.
“The relationship between the San Paolo and the team is something extraordinary, with me particularly.
“The Neapolitans fanbase has no equal, you go on the pitch and you receive something that is much more than emotional. I feel a great debt, and the only way I know to repay it is to give my best.
“My contract? It’s a false problem, the contract is there and we need to understand whether all the conditions are too.
“These fans are great and I always want to give 100 per cent, if I don’t feel able to do that then I’ll take a step back, otherwise we’ll continue.
“I was in Serie B four years ago, I can’t feel worried. I’m honoured to be close to a team that has been winning for seven years.”
Sarri was then asked if he feels the pressure of competing in both Serie A and the Champions League could weigh on Juventus.
“In theory it shouldn’t, they’re a team used to winning but not every season is the same. I’ve asked everything from these lads and they’ve always responded, they’re giving me 101 per cent and I can’t ask for more than that.
“I came to Napoli and found a team that made itself totally available. You do what you can, then we’ll see whether that’s enought.
“Will the trip to Turin be decisive? We can’t say, we’ll see how both teams go in to the head-to-head. Even a game against a team fighting to stay up is difficult at this stage of the season.
“Would I have a coffee with Max Allegri? I’ve done it in the past, I don’t see what the problem would be.”
Pepe Reina was greeted with affection by the San Paolo crowd, despite the fact he’ll leave at the end of the season, almost certainly for Milan.
“In Naples they know who they’re talking about, Reina is a great goalkeeper but that only counts up to a certain point,” Sarri explained.
“Reina is an extraordinary lad on a human level, the Neapolitans know he’ll give 101 per cent, even if his contract is expiring.”
Finally, Sarri was asked whether he feels more like Che Guevara, the famous revolutionary, or Napoli legend Diego Maradona.
“In Naples Maradona is an untouchable idol, it would be blasphemy to compare myself to him.”