Gennaro Gattuso warns Napoli ‘temperament will be crucial’ against Real Sociedad in the Europa League. ‘We need to play with vehemence.’
It kicks off in San Sebastian on Thursday at 20.00 GMT.
“I think we played below par in terms of tempo, so we did dominate AZ Alkmaar, but without the necessary vehemence and therefore didn’t hurt them,” Gattuso told Sky Sport Italia after that opening 1-0 home defeat.
“Tomorrow we are facing a side with a strong identity, you can tell many of their players came from the youth academy. They have a low of technical quality as well as determination, so it’s a big test for us.
“Their biggest strength is their quality. In possession, they are 100 per cent Spanish, but off the ball they do something a little different, they come and press, so we have to be wary.
“It’s an advantage for us to be playing them here with no fans, but it remains a difficult match and temperament will be crucial.”
Piotr Zielinski and Eljif Elmas are back in the squad after recovering from COVID-19, but Gattuso is expected to rotate his players.
“We make constant checks during the week on fatigue, diet, exercise, because we cannot afford to lose anyone at the moment.
“We need a fresh team, both physically and psychologically, keeping in mind the very difficult Serie A match with Sassuolo coming up at the weekend too.
“We tend to struggle against teams that are closed up, so my staff and I are examining a few different options for us to break the deadlock in those situations.”
Gattuso was also asked about his contract negotiations with Napoli President Aurelio De Laurentiis.
“There is a good rapport here, not just with the President, so the last thing I want to do is have a row with them. I am happy, I want to stay, but I think the solution will be found without problems. I don’t like clauses, but the desire to stay and continue to play important games with this club is strong. We’ll find an agreement.”