Sunday April 7 2019
Ancelotti: 'Napoli have to wake up'

Carlo Ancelotti complained Napoli are “defending badly and getting the basics wrong. If we play like this against Arsenal, we’re in trouble.”

The Partenopei were held to a 1-1 home draw by Genoa, despite their opponents having Stefano Sturaro sent off within the opening half-hour.

Ancelotti was asked if Napoli’s minds were already focused on the Europa League quarter-final.

“I don’t think the players were distracted, because we haven’t talked about Arsenal at all. We knew the difficulties we could run into in Empoli, although the difficulties we ran into tonight were a little more unexpected,” the Coach confessed to Sky Sport Italia.

“We’re defending badly at the moment, even when it was 11 against 10, and that means we cannot control the game. If you control the game, you don’t allow counter-attacks, you don’t let the opposition to turn and run at you.

“It’s an alarm bell, certainly, because if we play like this in London, then we’re in trouble. It is unusual to see Napoli doing that, so we have four days to focus back on the basics, because these are basics we’re getting wrong.”

The Genoa counter-attacking approach could have been a practice run for what Napoli will face against Arsenal.

“We became worried about having Goran Pandev pop up behind us and that meant we weren’t pressing all the way. We’ve always struggled against defences that clammed up, but we need to defend better and that means attacking better too. If you want to attack Arsenal, you must defend well too.

“We are in very good shape physically, the players are monitored on a daily basis and the statistics are all very positive. It’s good that Lorenzo Insigne was able to play 30 minutes and is now available against Arsenal.”

The gap at the top of the Serie A table is now 20 points, so Juventus need only a draw next week to be mathematically crowned Champions of Italy for the eighth time in a row.

“Of course, we wanted to be closer to Juve, but we dropped too many points along the way lately and Juventus have been extraordinary.

“Our objective was to reach somewhere between 80 and 90 points, but if we don’t wake up soon, we won’t hit that target either.”