Napoli President Aurelio De Laurentiis hopes Coach Maurizio Sarri will stay and confirms “we have an appointment for next week”.
Barring an unprecedented set of results in the final two games, the Partenopei will once again miss out to Juventus in the Scudetto race.
That has led to speculation that this represents the end of a cycle, with the Coach and some players to move on in the summer.
“Will Sarri be here for pre-season? I hope so,” De Laurentiis said in the Press conference to announce the squad’s training retreat in Trentino.
“I clearly have fewer doubts than you if you’re asking that question, but I can’t hold anyone by force.
“We have an appointment next week. Now we have to prepare for the away game [with Sampdoria], there’s travel and not much time.
“That’s why we’ve got an appointment for next week. But don’t worry, I’m calm.
“Is he the right Coach? I chose him myself, against most people’s advice…
“Relationships are always about give and take, it’s never one-sided. I don’t think we can complain about the football story of the past three years, he’s built a nice style, hailed by everyone abroad.
“There are many who would like to imitate him but it’s really difficult, so we’re all grateful.”
De Laurentiis did, however, appear to aim a barb at his Coach.
“We also won before with players of a lower level, a third of the salary - maybe even a quarter. We came second with [Walter] Mazzarri.
“Maybe the points we got before were different, even with [Rafa] Benitez.
“There are people who talk about bad relations with me but I can tell you that’s false. Mazzarri was here for four years, Benitez had a contract for two years with an option for another that I never thought he’d exercise because he was struggling being away from his family.
“We came fifth because of a few penalties, we didn’t do badly.
“When I took Sarri they put posters up around Naples saying I was an idiot and I didn’t react. Then after four games Sarri started an exceptional ride.
“We were a bit drained when we got to March and April [this season] because we had the Champions League preliminaries. We started early, so there was always a risk of that.
“Does Sarri want to leave? You don’t know Sarri, he’s devoted to his work and nothing else. It’s even difficult for his family to talk to him, so I try to interfere as little as possible.
“Then there comes a time when we have to talk, January for example.”
The President was then asked if Napoli deserved the Scudetto this year.
“Let’s see if we win this Sunday and next Sunday. In that case, can we not say we should have had eight points more?
“In that case we’ll tell off the people who created this mess, so the mess won’t happen again next year.
“The distance is six points, so if we can maintain that until the last day then, if eight points were stolen, I can say the Scudetto was Napoli’s and they took it from us.
“There was the non-application of VAR, the questionable behaviour of the referees…
“Did they take them [the points] away or not? Or can’t we say that out of fear? Italy’s problem is also silence.”