Carlo Ancelotti is confident Napoli “will be competitive to the end” despite a 3-1 defeat to Juventus and criticised Mario Rui’s red card.
Dries Mertens had finished off a well-worked team move to give the Partenopei a deserved early lead, but Mario Mandzukic scored either side of the break.
Mario Rui foolishly received a second yellow card for a tackle on Paulo Dybala’s ankle and Leonardo Bonucci made the mountain simply too high to climb.
“I think the referee made a superficial decision. Mario Rui got the second yellow card after a good long wait to consider it,” Ancelotti told Sky Sport Italia.
“The two yellows came from the superficiality of the referee.
“I was angry at my team because we started strong and took the lead, but then started getting sluggish and allowed Juventus to regain their confidence.
“It was overall a good performance. We need to improve in terms of character, consistency and experience, but we did well even when down to 10 men.”
Juventus fans never had a good rapport with Ancelotti and aimed insults at him from the stands.
“The chants from the Juventus fans were the usual. I’ll console myself with the 2003 Champions League trophy (where his Milan beat Juve in the Final, ndr).
“A defeat can happen, just as Juventus can lose in Naples. We have to keep improving under many aspects, but I am convinced we’ll be competitive right to the end and I think tonight’s performance proved that.”