Friday April 17 2020
Manolas: 'Gattuso keeps us going'

Kostas Manolas says Gennaro Gattuso is keeping the Napoli squad going during the coronavirus lockdown. “We have a special relationship.”

Napoli exited the Champions League and were sliding down the Serie A table when they sacked Carlo Ancelotti in December but won nine of their 15 games under Gattuso before the season came to a stop.

“There’s a great desire to start over from everyone,” Manolas told Radio Kiss Kiss.

“We’re following the programme put in place by Rino Gattuso and his staff with determination. This is a very clear sign.

“We want to continue our work. I know I can improve further. We often talk to each other, he encourages me to do more and more and I think that’s crucial. His presence is constant.

“We have a special relationship. I know he does it to stimulate me and I’m happy with him.

“We were getting back on track after a bad start. We’re still very hungry and we’d like to complete the path we started with Gattuso.

“But I can only speak well of Ancelotti. If you don’t beat the small teams, the problem is certainly not formation.

“Certainly, many of our players are more used to 4-3-3. Gattuso has carried out his ideas and we’re feeling very good.”

The former Roma man was then asked about centre-back partner Kalidou Koulibaly, who will reportedly leave the San Paolo this summer.

“He’s a very good defender and he’s also shown this in the past. I’ve been unlucky over the past few months. We’ve not played together much because of his injuries.

“Everyone’s been criticising the Manolas-Koulibaly partnership, but it makes no sense. When we lined up in central defence, the response has always been positive.”

The Partenopei held Barcelona to a 1-1 draw in the first leg of their Champions League Last-16 tie, which has yet to be fulfilled.

“Unfortunately, we were penalised by the final result in the first leg. Barca scored with their first shot on goal and that explains the 1-1. We’ll give it a go if we manage to play at Camp Nou.

“In football you can take nothing for granted. The Coppa Italia is another important objective. It would be great to win a trophy. That’s how you acquire a winning mentality.”

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