NEWS
Monday February 3 2020
Napoli 'held out during battle'

Gennaro Gattuso’s assistant manager Luigi Riccio was proud that Napoli “hung in there” during a 4-2 battle with Sampdoria.

Arkadiusz Milik and Eljif Elmas had put the visitors 2-0 up within 16 minutes, but a Fabio Quagliarella volley and Manolo Gabbiadini penalty clawed it back to 2-2.

“We had a very strong start, but when Quagliarella’s world-class goal got Sampdoria back into it, the whole tone of the game changed and it became a battle. We had to hang in there and we did,” the assistant manager told Sky Sport Italia.

Dries Mertens returned and scored the fourth goal, while Kalidou Koulibaly, Nikola Maksimovic and Allan were back on the bench after injuries.

“There have been so many difficulties in recent weeks, so having these resources of players who can come off the bench can really transform a match.

“It helps to have that kind of quality to call upon when in difficult situations. We got a bit stretched out and lost our confidence at times, so clearly we have to work better in those moments and ensure we stay focused.”

Diego Demme came off the bench to score for 3-2 and he was not even meant to be in the squad this evening.

“Demme was very ill this week with a flu virus, so we recovered him basically this morning thanks to our medical staff, who did everything to ensure he could play for at least a bit of the game.”

Riccio was asked if Napoli were in the running for the Champions League places this season.

“We are taking it one game at a time and not going to look beyond that.”

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