Gennaro Gattuso has urged Napoli to already forget winning the Coppa Italia, warned Barcelona ‘it won’t be a holiday’ and calls Marcello Lippi his ‘reference’.
Despite winning the first major trophy of his managerial career on Wednesday night, Gattuso now wants Napoli to prove they can build on beating Juventus in the Coppa Italia Final.
“The games against Lazio, Inter and Juve were tough,” he told Radio Kiss Kiss.
“We went down to 10 against Lazio, Inter made things difficult for us and you all saw the Final.
“We’ve improved and we can improve even more. As a player, whenever I won a trophy, I always thought about the next day, what to do to make up for any weaknesses.
“We must always be ready and have a clear head. We’ll do that in our upcoming league games.”
The Partenopei’s players mobbed their coach after the penalty shootout and let him lift the trophy.
“It was a nice gesture. This team have always respected me. A player can tell me to go to hell, but they can’t touch my staff.
“I’m their best friend and worst enemy, but I won’t hold a grudge with those who mess up. It’s all forgotten the day after.
“I knew being a coach wouldn’t be easy, it wasn’t enough to have been a great player.
“I worked hard to learn and I made some tough choices, but it was a path [assistant Luigi] Riccio and I wanted to take.
“I always want to learn, there are many new things to learn each day. You need a good team behind you, but it also takes a lot of humility to appreciate new things.”
Napoli restart their Serie A campaign next Tuesday at Verona, aiming to close a nine-point gap on fourth-placed Atalanta, before facing Barca in the Champions League two months later.
“I don’t know [if we can do it], Atalanta have a game in hand on us. We have to play our game again and, of course, results matter.
“We have to improve in terms of pressing or dribbling. We have to take to the field well, that’s our objective.
“As for Barcelona, there’s the acceptance that we’ll be facing a better team, but we’ll get there in the best possible way, in the right physical and mental condition.
“It won’t be a holiday, we’ll go there to play for progression. Instead, we want to go on holiday as late as possible.”
Gattuso worked under some iconic coaches throughout his playing career, but he admits there was one he particularly looked up to.
“For me, he was a point of reference for how he managed the team and the players. I manage in a very similar way to how he managed me.
“I repeat, he’s a point of reference for me. If I encounter any difficulties, I think about how he acted and the decisions he made.
“As for what’s special about me, I don’t know, I say what I think. I’ve certainly improved. Maybe people like me for my spontaneity.
“I call a spade a spade, even if it may upset some people.”
Rino’s Coppa success came just two weeks after the death of his sister, Francesca.
“I had an incredible relationship with my sister, I was very close to her. She suffered a lot for several years.
“I think the hardest thing was seeing mum and dad hug. They’re the parents, only they know how it feels.
“We must keep going. She’s now feeling better in heaven and I hope we’ll all meet again one day to have a chat.”
Finally, the 42-year-old revealed who would have taken Napoli’s fifth and final penalty at the Olimpico.
“Allan. It’s better that he wasn’t needed!”
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