Thursday March 14 2019
Ancelotti: 'Qualification key for Napoli'

Carlo Ancelotti was not too concerned by a 3-1 defeat to RB Salzburg, as “the important thing is Napoli are in the draw for the Europa League quarter-finals.”

The Partenopei had won the first leg 3-0 and took the lead in Austria through Arkadiusz Milik, but conceded a flurry of late goals for the 3-4 aggregate result.

“The objective was not to get pinned back from the start, so in that sense we did well,” the Coach told Sky Sport Italia.

“Let’s look forward to the quarter-final, which will no doubt be difficult. We had the right approach initially, but then had difficulty dealing with the comeback. I guess the 3-0 first leg lead made us feel comfortable enough going into the final minutes.

“Sebastiano Luperto and Vlad Chiriches did very well and showed confidence, so good signs came from them. I am very happy, as we were in a bit of an emergency situation at the back.

“We prepared well and effectively Milik’s away goal sealed our qualification.”

Lorenzo Insigne was meant to start, but pulled out in the warm-up with a muscular issue, replaced by Dries Mertens.

“Insigne felt a twinge in the warm-up and probably could’ve played, but we preferred not to risk it. The important thing is that Napoli are in the draw for the Europa League quarter-finals.”

As Napoli are 18 points off Serie A leaders Juventus, is winning the Europa League now the objective?

“The objective is to keep going until the end of the season, because in Serie A we certainly are not in a comfortable position. We had a setback against Sassuolo and need to be vigilant, as if we can’t have first place, we should at least hold on to second.”