Gennaro Gattuso has revealed that his Napoli players “are tired” after the Barcelona match and expects to learn “what shape we are in” against Torino.
Napoli are coming from a 1-1 draw and a great defensive display against Barcelona in the Champions League, but they will have to regroup immediately when they face the Granata in Serie A tomorrow.
Gattuso has admitted that they weren’t able to train as normal after the tough game and expects another “physical” exam when Torino arrive at the San Paolo.
“We have to find out who are 100 per cent because we are playing against a physically strong team,” Gattuso said at a press conference. “It is up to us to play with the ones who are ready to give 100 per cent because tomorrow it will be a battle.
“The team was very tired when we did the tests yesterday and we decided to work in the gym for our recovery,” he said. “Today we will prepare for the game against Torino.
“Tomorrow the ones who enter the pitch must be 100 per cent well, both mentally and physically.
“[I expect] a Napoli ready to fight, which must play its own game and also know how to suffer. We face one of the strongest teams physically in Serie A and they are going through a negative period.
“We must respect our opponent and do our things with determination in both phases of the game.”
Dries Mertens will have to sit out but Gennaro Gattuso insists that Arkadiusz Milik will be ready to replace the joint all-time leading goalscorer.
“He has immense class and can give us a big hand,” Gattuso said. “Something he has done for a long time. Today, we also hope to get Mertens back, we hope he feels better. He will try to train with us. Milik is the least of my problems, I know the type of player he is.”
After the great defensive performance against Barcelona in the Champions League, Gattuso would be careful to claim that Napoli are fixed already.
“I don’t agree when you say we have fixed everything defensively,” he said. “We have to understand what we want to do, if we can get push them up 10 or 15 metres on the pitch. Sometimes we can, but you have to be good with the midfielders.
“Sometimes it’s about the attitude of how you get up the pitch with the four defenders. We have to get there in a calm way.”
He reiterates that he expects a “physical” side tomorrow and said Torino can help Napoli understand what “shape” the Partenopei are in ahead of the semi-final in the Coppa Italia against Inter and the return leg against Barcelona.
“Let’s think about the game tomorrow,” he said. “After tomorrow’s game, I can answer if we can reason differently.
“Torino are a team that falls perfectly for us. It’s the ad-hoc game to see if we are healed or not. They are physically strong and win a lot of second balls, there will be many duels. Torino can make us understand what condition we are in.”
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