NEWS
Sunday February 16 2020
Gattuso: 'Players need to be professional'

Napoli boss Rino Gattuso believes his players “need to be professional” and that he has no problems with Allan, despite dropping him for today's game.

The Partenopei emerged with a 1-0 win against Cagliari that sees them leapfrop the Sardinians in the table, but Gattuso believes that the real Napoli hasn’t returned.

“We need a run of wins to say we are back. I still don’t trust this run. We have to remember we are on the right track and need to stay on it, with hard work and putting our quality at the disposal of the team,” Gattuso told Sky Sport Italia.

“Insigne has been playing through a knee problem, now Mertens is giving something different. Mario Rui is the only left-back, so this was the best line-up I could use right now.

“Players are professionals, it doesn’t matter if their contracts are renewed or not. I respect my players and would climb mountains for them, but they have to work for me too. I want them to respect the club, to respect their profession and their teammates.

“If someone comes to me and says, sorry, my mind is not on the job, I’ll shake his hand and say alright then. Allan had important offers, but that’s up to the club, it has nothing to do with me.

“There is no problem with Allan, we begin with a clean slate tomorrow, no rancour, and I will work to get him back into his best shape.

“What Napoli have done, what I have done, will remain in history. I achieved a great deal in my career, but if I go to play now, I’ll suck. I am out of shape, I’m old, my feet are rusty. That was then, this is now and we cannot afford to keep thinking about the past.

“There are players who have done great things at Napoli, so why ruin that in the final months? Try to finish on a high.”

Has Gattuso been approached to give his view on the contract talks with Jose Callejon and Dries Mertens?

“If people ask me what I think of players, I will give an opinion, but it’s not my money, it’s not my job. I can give an opinion, but I am a coach and I don’t want to be a director.”

Mertens scored the winning goal, and Gattuso says his side missed a player with his skillset.

“Aside from the goal, he makes everything seem simple by linking the midfield with attack. He’s smart. He knows how to press, when to receive, when to track back and he never stops moving. We missed him a lot during his injury, as he combines quality with that nous, those smarts. He’s sneaky.”

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