Thursday September 13 2018
Napoli evolution, not revolution

Napoli do not need a revolution, but rather a gradual evolution, as Carlo Ancelotti cannot afford any further experiments, writes Vilizar Yakimov.

One - this is the number of Serie A games Jose Maria Callejon missed during Maurizio Sarri’s three years at Napoli. The Spaniard’s importance to Sarri’s gameplay has never been doubted, but the fact the only game that the 31-year-old missed was due to suspensioneven furtherhighlights how highly the ex-Partenopei Coach thought of the winger.

However, it took Carlo Ancelotti just three weeks to field a Callejon-less starting XI in Serie A and the Real Madrid youth product was not the only big name that was missing against Sampdoria. Marek Hamsik and Dries Mertens also started on the bench, as Ancelotti choose to field a younger and more unexperienced team - an experiment, which resulted in a dreadful performance and a heavy 3-0 loss.

The outcome of the game clearly shows that this Napoli team is not ready to play without so many of its senators, especially in the transitional period the club is currently in.

The departures of Pepe Reina and Jorginho are clearly having a big impact, as losing the duo to Milan and Chelsea respectively deprived the Partenopei of two of the constants of Sarri’s era. Their replacements Alex Meret and Amadou Diawara are extremely talented players, but while the Italian is currently injured, the 21-year-old midfielder needs more seasoned heads around him to express his qualities in an efficient way. Therefore, removing Callejon, Mertens and Hamsik from the starting XI at the same time is clearly too big of a change at this point.

It almost seems like Ancelotti was tricked into makingall those changes by the constant criticism towards Sarri’s inability to use the full width of his squad and rotate his players in the last couple of seasons. This looks like a rookie mistake by Ancelotti, which is very bizarre, considering Carletto’s experience and ability to gradually implement his ideas in all clubs he’s been working at.

It is true that Napoli paid a significant amount of money for Simone Verdi and the former Bologna man should be getting consistent playing time, but he should be eased into the side by playing alongside the more experienced players. The 26-year-old has never featured for a top club, so the struggles on his debut should not be surprising by any means.

What was more worrying than Verdi’s toothless play was the inability of the likes of Allan, Arkadiusz Milik and most notably Lorenzo Insigne to step up in the absence of the other leaders of the side. Ancelotti’s presence onthe bench means that Napoli should eventually learn to play with new personnel, because as effective and as attractive the current core of players has been, Mertens, Hamsik and Callejon will not last forever.

The only more disappointing thing than the result from Napoli’s perspective has arguably been Insigne’s inability to step up and take the game by the scruff of theneck when it really matters. The 27-year-old is undoubtedly one of the brightest talents that Italy has produced in recent years and one of the players who can benefit the most fromAncelotti’s arrival in Naples.

Insigne needs to outgrow the bad habit of always looking for the attractive, rather than the effective option, which would be key for inserting the sought-after pragmatism and winning mentality in his and Napoli’s gameplay. If he doesn’t do that, he risks being remembered as just another unfulfilled Italian talent.

Putting the blame for the Sampdoria defeat exclusively on Insigne, Ancelotti, David Ospina, who is yet to register a save for Napoli, or anybody else would not be fair. There is little doubt that Ancelotti will take serious measures to avoid similar meltdowns in the future. Carletto’s failed experiment against Marco Giampolo’s side, as well as the inconsistency showed during the dramatic comebacks against Lazio and Milan, are not crucial for Napoli’s season. At least not yet.

However, with the Partenopei facing an impressing Fiorentina side at the weekend and with their Champions League campaign starting next week as well, Ancelotti can not afford any further experiments with the fragile balance of his squad.

Carletto has been around long enough to notice the worrying signs and realise that what Napoli need at the moment is not a revolution. They just need him to do what he knows best - smoothly inserting pragmatism and ruthlessness into a collective unit that has been functioning so well for years.

Watch Serie A live in the UK on Premier Sports.

Have your say...
look napoii need a stadium and when we finally find the right sponsor to build and location juve will win. i have a ton of hope we win before this but the way juve spends and their budget just out guns napoli.
on the 24th September, 2018 at 9:28pm
@napoli.... said one sad napoli fan to another hahahaha
on the 17th September, 2018 at 3:10pm
@ade.. that’s the way to tell these Juve fans off
on the 16th September, 2018 at 1:27am
@ ade hahahah its ok buddy its ok, we know your hurting and just dont know what to say.
on the 15th September, 2018 at 2:21pm
. Firstly, only a nobody bears anonymous, thus I could not afford a secs of my time for a Nameless juve dog!
Secondly, juve could win as they want but will only be remembered as much as Il Grande Torino far less Slick and Mesmerizing, less artful and flair as IL GRANDE Milan and Pep Barcelona! Thats a team that set precedent and standard for you ol Juve Novice whom started watching soccer in 1998.
However, you could take solace in the fact that you signed an aged Christiano Ronaldo; the Greatest superstar in the entirety of juves history! What a shame.
In a league bereaved of its wealth, Glamour by Juve Calciopoli, and its brightest ideologue in Sarri and Conte, juve should continue, afterall the king of a place is a servant is certainly a servant somewhere not too faraway. MUMU JUVENTINI
on the 15th September, 2018 at 12:54pm
--they will ask you to remember their past glories. Only Juve haters like you can have stupid idea that Juve single-handedly must win CL to "satisfy" Italian clubs who can't even play regularly in CL. And only clowns like you can think scudetto is unworthy achievement and only CL that matters, typical hypocrite and losers from Milano.
on the 15th September, 2018 at 7:25am
@ Ade

Yeah we as fans are fully optimistic with our recent squad (except for some Anti Allegri out there) but not desperate. You said Juve play nonsensical, dour(? LOL), boring, blah blah blah. Hello? Juve actually won something for 7 years in a row, what about Italian team that you support? Do they get trophy from Sarrismo? or maybe you're a fan of AC or Inter that play inferior style of football with mediocre players all over the place and when they lose (again and again and again LOL)--
on the 15th September, 2018 at 7:16am
@giancarlo and pintur, it doesnt make sense anymore guys. Facts apparently do not apply to this blog.only mindless hating and jealousy rules around here. For 8 years hahahahaha in a row hahahah. Double figures in trophies in 8 years least some ppl around here are starting to accept the facts. Its really sad tbh to know there are ppl this ignorant in the world. But what do you expect from loser fans supporting loser teams. For 8 years hahahahahah
on the 14th September, 2018 at 10:24pm
@ade ammm buddy you know juve has over 70 trophies right? And 3 or 7 is wayyyy more than 2 hahahaha you ppl really need something new to talk about. I think im going to stop reading these blogs. The level of stupidity is astounding. Lets do the math quick. Juve = 70 plus, milan = 49 or so, inter = a lot less and i dont even think they are in the top 10 teams in the world anymore. Also arsenal has more trophies than inter hahahaha keep up the hating buddy, you make us juve fans feel so special.
on the 14th September, 2018 at 10:19pm
you just proved my point about being a band-wagoner.. you have been a fan of Juve since 1998 ? .. they won the Scudetto in the 97-98 season !! thanks pumpkin head .. only a dork would call someone a pumpkin head
on the 14th September, 2018 at 9:44pm
@Giancarlo C's mom
. What a dole you are or whatever it is that you bear? I think for a football neophyte like you who had been dreaming of a 3rd champions league cup success, it's only right that you get optimistic and desperate!
Juve! La signora, old lady of Italian football, LOSERS personified on the world stage! It will suffice if juve feeds you with nonsensical and dour,boring and sleep inducing entertainment that has got you loosing and embarrassing Italian teams every now and then. However you are a fan you have got no where to go. Keep winning your serie-A and Loosing in Europe; typical Juve
on the 14th September, 2018 at 8:43pm
--every mature fans from other clubs are now completely aware Juventus finally have a very dangerous squad to win this cup after so many years with the like of Iaquinta, Amauri and Almiron were expected to win CL. And if you're smart, you would know that from now on and then Juve with their massive incomes can upgrade their squads to become the best and their fans including me, we love to give our money for such quality entertainment that Juve offer to us.
on the 14th September, 2018 at 5:15pm
@ Ade

Why should he listen to you? Do you know you just become a pathetic clown when you said Juve is like Atletico Madrid??? LOL

And seriously??? who cares EPL fan boys opinion about Juve. If you're smart you won't dare to mention Ronaldo here. Do you know Ronaldo is just icing on the cake? We already have a very good squad to win CL but with him (the best player in the world) in our team, we instantly become the favorites. Yeah we know, we still have to fight to win the cup, but--
on the 14th September, 2018 at 5:07pm
you do not have to get at frenzy parodying Neapolitans! Among my premier league circle of friends, juventus is seen more like an Athletico Madrid of Italy; too much hassles but no substance and class to win the "BIG EAR CUP" the obsession with the trophy speaks volume about the need to upgrade to the likes of Acmilan(7), Internazionale(3) juve(2) a Ronaldo of 33years doesn't guarantee the champions league? Ever since the juve dominance, no Italian team has won any European trophy neither has Italy won on the international landscape! What a tragedy of a nation is this current wave of Bianconeros reign, so much that a classless Ventura and an idiotic Tavecchio led a farce and futile FIGC. now its going to be Marrotta! What a joke of a person! Agnelli should be thankful that the Movers and shakers of Italian football had left the football scape( Berlusconi and Galliani) and Moratti strong competitors all we have now are jokes in (PALLOTTA N MONCHI) , ( ADL n AUSILLIO)...pinturicchio win like Berlusconi and Moratti on the international scene and you could raised your head above water and TALK, but for now, you can as well KEEP MUTE .
on the 14th September, 2018 at 7:22am

I think you lack basic comprehension of both Calcio and the English language. A club which has participated in 2 of the last 4 UCL finals, and which has won "7 Scudetti in fila" is not a top club?

Also, a band-wagoner is someone who only likes a club during its successful period(s)... I have been watching/following La Vecchia Signora since 1998, I'm a full International J-Member and I've watched Serie A in Italy (even though I'm not native Italian). OK, pumpkin-head?
on the 14th September, 2018 at 5:21am
It could be a long season.

Ancelotti is a big name, but like everyone else eventually, a fading one. Maybe he'd have been a better fit for the NT.

ADL seems to be covering up the cracks with his appointment rather than solving the issues with the squad. They've needed a CB for years, but are still playing Albiol. The keeper situation is unsettled, and others are aging.

They might get top 4, but a EL run seems the best bet as the PSG and Liverpool attacks should be too much for them
on the 14th September, 2018 at 12:34am
Its always the same old story with you losers lol juve will never this or never that blah blah blah well guess what they have won every european trophy there is and guess what? Thats in the past along with whatever measly # of trophies you ppl won. Either way, you are being beaten now, for 8 yrs, 8 longgggg yearrsssss hahahahhaha!!!
on the 14th September, 2018 at 12:26am
@napoli1926, actually dont bother, your name tells us all we will ever need to know hahaha carry on
on the 14th September, 2018 at 12:18am
@Pinturicchio .. It must be easy to be on the band wagon and like Juve ... Serie a is all you have so just enjoy it because Juve will never win the CL .. they only win this watered down Serie a and with the refs help .. they are not a top club in Europe!
on the 13th September, 2018 at 11:05pm
It could be a very tricky campaign for Napoli. ADL's focus seems to be all over the place: buying Bari and wanting to purchase Hadjuk Split; the problems with the stadium; the ridiculous idea of building a stadium with a capacity of 20,000 seats; losing Jorginho and Reina; seemingly average signings and still no world class CB to partner Koulibaly; too many players that are quick to make feeble excuses/players whose heads go down down at the first signs of adversity.
on the 13th September, 2018 at 9:34pm

Put some effort in your trolling... At least get a proper nickname?

Also, how was Conte's team "overachieving" if they won 3 Scudetti in a row? You can win 1 by luck, 2 by hard-work, but 3 Scudetti means you clearly are functioning perfectly and are deserved champions.

But then I don't expect people who last won a Scudetto with the help of a druggie joke of a person when I wasn't born.... Even Roma have won more recently than you have.
on the 13th September, 2018 at 7:40pm
@Serie A Just like Napoli, you, too, have a knack of spewing BS. Should I give you links to all the interviews where brainless ADL, classless Sarri, untalented midget Insigne, Hamsik/Mertens/Koulibaly et al said they're superior to Juventus, deserve the Scudetto, there's an agenda against Napoli bla bla bla. I have much better things than pay attention to a garbage club, but you magg0ts croak too much, so Juventini like me have to put you in back in the hole you crawl out of.
on the 13th September, 2018 at 7:35pm
@ Ade

I fully agree.

I believe ADL fired Sarri and got Ancelotti because he knew it is hard to win the league and everyone knew it would be down to not spending rather than Sarri.

With Acelotti he has a new cycle and excuse for a few more years, then the coach changes again.

I really believe Ancelotti will be out of his depth.

As a Napoli fan I am everything but excited.
on the 13th September, 2018 at 5:52pm
@Pinturicchio so much hate... if we all would remember the Conte's Juventus and squad that was fielding Matri regularly I think we can agree that at the time Juventus was overachieving also! I don't see the problem with overachieving, Napoli did great things all considering and I think the club and supporters should be happy. The wrong thing is forcing the rivalry with Juventus, because it's a fight that they cant win atm.
on the 13th September, 2018 at 2:57pm
on the 13th September, 2018 at 2:51pm
I commend Napoli for their shrewd acquisitions over the years......Callejon + Higuain + Mertens for 60 mill is ingenius. Allan for 15 mill, Zielinski for 15 mill, Jorginho for pennies.....then you got dumb clubs like inter who spend 40 mill for Kondognia + 45mill for Joao Mario, 30mill for Gabi-one-gol, 20mill for Dilbert....all Ausilio acquisitions by the way and u wonder with they finished 6th 9th 5th 8th 4th 7th 4th the last 4 seasons !
on the 13th September, 2018 at 2:26pm
@Serie A
I strongly admit that, Napoli had been punching above their weight all the while thanks to the ingenuity of Maurizio sarri. Its such a hell of a job carletto find himself in owing to the Sceptre of Sarris success looming around the sao-Paolo. Still I doubt Ancelotti upstaging his achievements. ADL shall soon know he had lost a magician in Sarri, so sad for Italian football.
on the 13th September, 2018 at 1:53pm

What none sense from you. Clearly Juventus is far superior to everyone and without a new stadium and more importantly a new president, Napoli will go nowehere in terms of titles.

But it's not like Milan or Roman clubs are much better. Just because Napoli are not winning titles does not mean they are a mid table club. I agree though they have overachieved under Sarri (they are 3 to 6 placed club).

Also, they are humble. Sarri and ADL always said they are not title contenders.
on the 13th September, 2018 at 1:42pm
2 out of 3 Napoli defeats last year came after a CL game, and the third one to Fiorentina was down to nerves. IT clearly proved that Napoli's swuad was not deep enough and players lacked experience.

Ancelotti has many titles, but like Zidane he is a coach that can manage egos, but Napoli simply do not have the players to compete at top level without a coach with a top system.

Reality is that Ancelotti may slightly outperform Benitez but come nowhere close to what Sarri achieved.
on the 13th September, 2018 at 11:39am
It's imperative that Napoli build their own 50.000 seater arena in the near future.
Otherwise they will have to sell players each summer or cannot afford 30 mill plus mill transfers.
on the 13th September, 2018 at 9:36am

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