Carlo Ancelotti reveals he told substitute Lorenzo Insigne he “will decide the match” and few realise how important Napoli’s victory at RB Salzburg was.
Dries Mertens bagged a brace, as did Erling Haaland, but Insigne came off the bench to score the winner for 3-2.
“I expected this, because I knew that to win here, we had to sacrifice ourselves and play with intelligence,” Ancelotti told Sky Sport Italia.
“We fought hard, it was a fascinating match and we stayed focused for 90 minutes. It’s a great result.”
Kostas Manolas pulled out with bruised ribs, so Napoli had to play a makeshift defence against a side that had scored nine goals in its first two Champions League games.
“We started strong, took the lead, struggled a little and then got it back under control. Those who came off the bench gave an excellent contribution and it’s a wonderful night for everyone.
“I said beforehand that there were two very important games against Salzburg. We won the first, but the second is still to come and we believe that we can do better.
“Maybe not everyone knows about RB Salzburg, but they are a very, very dangerous team, especially on their own turf, and we had to try everything to get the better of them here.”
Mertens not only scored twice, he left behind Diego Maradona on 115 goals in a Napoli jersey, reaching 116 and closing on Marek Hamsik’s record of 121.
“It’s a great night for him, for us, Napoli are back to winning a Champions League away fixture after three years and we hope to keep that going now.”
Eyebrows were raised when Insigne was again left on the bench, but he celebrated his winning goal by rushing over to hug Ancelotti.
“I had told him before the game, you will play and decide the match, but I don’t know if you’ll play 10, 20 or 30 minutes. I’m not a magician, but I told him that!”
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