Maurizio Sarri would see jeers as “a sign of affection” from his old Napoli fans, but hints Juventus could be his final coaching role.
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This will be the first time Sarri has returned to the San Paolo as an opponent, and technically the first time he has faced Napoli, seeing as when Juve won 4-3 in Turin back in Week 1, he was home in bed with pneumonia.
“It is a special game for me, but we mustn’t spend too much energy on personal issues and focus on the collective,” said the coach in his press conference.
“We have a very important match to play. If the fans did jeer me, I would consider that a show of affection. They were unfair to do that to Gonzalo Higuain, though.
“If Higuain plays tomorrow or not is purely a tactical consideration and has nothing to do with the atmosphere.”
Sarri was asked if coming to Juve meant he could never return to Napoli in future and made a surprising revelation.
“I am not thinking about that now. After this experience, I could even retire. We’ll see how much energy I have left by the end of it.
“Pressure is not really an issue, it’s about what someone expects from themselves. If you focus on the circus, then you’re done for. I don’t know how I’ll feel when my contract expires in two years. I might even continue and it’d be a bad idea.”
Napoli have had difficulty replacing Sarri, going from Carlo Ancelotti to Gennaro Gattuso, from 4-4-2 back to his 4-3-3.
“I expect a difficult game, as Napoli are a strong team. Their current position in the table is strange, because they are the best in many aspects. Looking at the statistics, one feels they are destined to climb back up pretty quickly.
“I know only too well what motivation they will have going into this game. Napoli is changing, Gattuso likes to bring solidity to his teams and it looks as if he is achieving that intent here.”
Rodrigo Bentancur returns from a three-match ban and has been shown to make the difference with forward runs.
“I still feel Sami Khedira is the best at making forward runs, but Bentancur is certainly learning. He brings balance to the side with extraordinary dynamism and is growing day by day. He is extremely important right now, because he allows us to play in a variety of different ways.”
Sarri famously wants little to do with the transfer market and confirmed as much when asked about the swap between Mattia De Sciglio and PSG left-back Layvin Kurzawa.
“I don’t know. The director told me this is an idea. I saw him play a couple of times while having dinner with my family, but that’s very different to studying him, so I don’t really know the player very well.”
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