Carlo Ancelotti maintains Napoli’s Europa League quarter-final with Arsenal “only lasted 30 minutes” and they can’t be expected to compete with their current revenue.
It was already a mountain to climb after the 2-0 first leg defeat, but Alexandre Lacazette’s free kick in the first half meant the Partenopei needed four goals and they visibly lost confidence.
“The game only lasted 30 minutes tonight. It was difficult and we had two really good chances where we could’ve broken the deadlock,” he told Sky Sport Italia.
“In this type of match, you need those incidents to go your way. After Arsenal scored, the situation became impossible and our heads objectively dropped.
“We’ve lost a bit of sharpness in attack lately, we are slower, more predictable and that creates problems in the finishing too.
“We lost organisation, focus in our finishing and didn’t play anywhere near the levels we had against Liverpool or Paris Saint-Germain. At this stage of the season, teams struggle to play at their best.
“The intention was to play out from the back with the three defenders and then attack their defensive line from behind. We were offside three or four times, had a couple of chances with Callejon and Milik. When you need to recover from a deficit, you require a bit of good luck for these incidents to go your way. They didn’t and Arsenal scored at the first attempt.”
Lorenzo Insigne seemed upset as he was substituted in the second half, especially as he was jeered by some fans.
“He was disappointed at the situation, the way the game was going. The players really believed in their chances, so he was unhappy with the result.
“All we can do now is look forward, try to secure second place and try to be better next season.”
There are no Italian clubs in the semi-finals of the Champions League or Europa League, so does former PSG, Real Madrid, Chelsea and Bayern Munich Coach Ancelotti know what is holding Serie A back?
“I think above all the difference is in the ability to buy top players, invest and create a strong team. Juventus are the only side in Italy who create revenue on the same level as Europe’s biggest clubs, so it is a surprise not to see them in the semi-finals. I do think it’s a fluke, as they’ll be there next season.
“Our objective is to grow slowly, improve and invest in young players who can mature with us. For example, Alex Meret made a mistake today, but he is a talented young player and it’s valuable experience for him.
“I think Italian football is well represented in Europe by Juventus, even if they went out.”
How does Ancelotti believe his first season at Napoli will be judged?
“I’ve found a good squad, we were able to play some good football at times, the club supports me, so working together we’ll try to build something stronger next season.
“I know full well that there will be the usual chatter about my role and performances, but I’m used to it.”