Gennaro Gattuso reveals he got so angry at Napoli during the 2-1 Europa League win over Rijeka that he feared he’d ‘pop a blood vessel.’
The Partenopei were lucky to be on 1-1 at the break, as Alex Meret made several saves, but Diego Demme and Matteo Politano’s deflected effort turned it around.
“There’s no such thing as an easy game, don’t forget Real Sociedad only beat Rijeka with a goal at the 93rd minute,” Gattuso told Sky Sport Italia.
“I knew they would sit back and be ready to go on the counter straight away, and yet we were taken by surprise repeatedly in the first 30-35 minutes.
“Maybe we thought that we were coming here for some sight-seeing, I got really angry at half-time. We ran too many risks. It was better after the break, but we cannot accept these errors in attitude from the start. We can’t afford it.
“It’s a problem that has been going since last season. For years, in fact, Napoli have had these ups and downs, so we have to improve. In the first 30-35 minutes today, we won zero second balls, were surprised by their counter-attacks despite the fact that’s all they ever do.
“We’ve got to be on our toes at all times and not need to get slapped in order to wake up. It went well for us today, but if our luck isn’t in, then it becomes really tough to turn it around. I want to see our second half performance for an entire 90 minutes in every single match.”
Gattuso was asked just how angry he got at half-time and the response was telling.
“I’m going to pop a blood vessel one of these days! It’s not good enough. We had prepared this game well, the team knew what kind of side we were facing, and that is what makes me angry.
“Evidently it’s my fault for again not managing to get into the heads of my players and not getting them to concentrate for 90 minutes.”
Real Sociedad beat AZ Alkmaar 1-0, so now Alkmaar, Real Sociedad and Napoli are all on six points, while Rijeka have 0.