Carlo Ancelotti tried to think positive after a 1-1 draw with Udinese, but confessed the Napoli squad was “apathetic” and shrugged off Gennaro Gattuso rumours.
The Partenopei are now without a win in nine competitive games, including seven Serie A rounds.
“The second half was a good reaction, above all an improvement in attitude. I guess that’s a positive sign, but the first half was very negative, as we were in a really bad way,” Ancelotti told Sky Sport Italia.
“I try to be optimistic and see that as a sign the squad still has the strength to get out of this moment. However, the first half was so awful, slow, sluggish, uninspired.
“I would like to say the negative period is behind us, but it isn’t. We need a spark and hopefully that can be next week in the Champions League.
“We had to find a way to get rid of that first half apathy, the total lack of ideas or creativity. We pushed the full-backs further forward, had Fernando Llorente as a centre-forward and it went better.
“In football, we all know, it’s credit to the players when things go well and the coach is to blame when things go badly. This team has to get the best out of itself and so far we’re not doing that.”
Napoli need a point against Genk at the Stadio San Paolo to reach the Champions League Round of 16.
“Tuesday is a fundamental crossroads, we can’t mess that up. We must us the approach we had in the Champions League this season, which certainly is not what we showed in Serie A.”
Ancelotti was asked what went wrong yet again at the Dacia Arena, as Kevin Lasagna had opened the scoring.
“I think that fear and worry at this moment is having the upper hand against clear heads and courage. The team pushed harder in the second half, won more challenges, passed it better.
“We conceded a ridiculous goal, as we knew full well Lasagna was formidable in those situations. I had prepared this game above all defensively, because if we remained solid, we could then get a goal at the other end.
“Lorenzo Insigne did not do well in the first half, but then nobody did, it’s not like he is to blame. He feels responsible because he is the captain, but he has the same issues as everyone else.
“I just moved the system around to push more with Hirving Lozano.”
Ancelotti took the opportunity to hit back at some of the newspaper reports swirling around Napoli over the last few weeks.
“There is no powder-keg in the dressing room. I hear talk of a split team, of rows within the squad, with the coach, arguments over training methods, none of that is true. The team is in good shape physically.
“We just tried to refocus ourselves, above all defensively, as our best performances have come when we were defensively organised.”
This morning, several newspapers claimed that Ancelotti would be sacked and replaced by Gattuso if he failed to win in Udine.
“Rino is a brother to me. We haven’t spoken recently, but I haven’t asked him if the rumours are true, because I believe what the President tells me. He says he has faith in me.
“I haven’t thought about quitting, because if my past teaches me anything, it’s that the worse things go, the better we manage to turn them around.”
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