Carlo Ancelotti admits Cagliari had reason to be angry at the decisive penalty, but praised “courageous” Lorenzo Insigne for converting the Napoli winner.
The Sardinians were furious after the game, insisting the stoppage-time penalty for handball millimetres on the line was not a clear and obvious error worthy of VAR intervention.
“It is very difficult to tell, we saw the replays a few times too and it’s very difficult,” Ancelotti confessed to Sky Sport Italia.
“There is definitely doubt and it is hard to judge. In similar situations, the decision went against us, for example the red card for Alex Meret against Juventus.”
Cagliari had taken the lead through Leonardo Pavoletti, but a Dries Mertens header and that last-gasp Insigne penalty turned it around.
“We weren’t dynamic enough in the first half, we had too many sideways or back passes and not enough going forward. We never ran a risk at the back, then conceded at their first shot on target. Their goal woke us up and we rediscovered our approach.”
Insigne converted the penalty deep into injury time with a response to the critics, having been jeered by fans last week and eventually meeting the club with agent Mino Raiola to discuss a new contract.
“I am happy for Insigne. I asked him if he wanted to take the penalty and he replied: ‘Why shouldn’t I?’ He’s courageous and I like that. The last week has helped calm everything down.”
This result mathematically sealed second place for Napoli, although the Scudetto ship sailed a long time ago.
“We’ll try to shorten the gap with the arrival of new players, improving mentality and quality. I really like this team and the environment around it, I feel it is mine. We’ll now try to whittle down some of the difficulties we had this season.”