Sunday January 10 2021
Gattuso: ‘Napoli can’t always be Brad Pitt’

Napoli coach Gennaro Gattuso claims it’s fine to win ugly and warns his players 'must stop messing around on social media.' 

Napoli picked up all three points away at Udinese through a late Tiemoue Bakayoko goal.

“The team is alive and kicking, but must always play at the top of its game, as we have important targets,” Gattuso told Sky Sport Italia.

“On Wednesday we lost an incredible game with Spezia, so it was tough here to get back on track, but I am glad that we took back what we dropped three days ago.”

Amir Rrahmani was in his first start for Napoli, but had a nightmare by giving away the equaliser with a poor backpass and risking more howlers before he was substituted at half-time.

“I am sorry for Amir, he’s a great professional, but he was struggling today and I had to make decisions. He will get his chance again. I do think we have to stop messing around on social media nowadays, because Napoli, Roma and Lazio are similar places, in that we are constantly surrounded by gossip, rumours, discussion, a lot of rubbish is talked about, and we have to ignore it.”

Dries Mertens and Victor Osimhen are still out of action.

“I don’t get angry with my players for their technique, it’s when they don’t smell fear. I think we are a team who repeatedly don’t spot the danger when it’s coming. I want to see a team that keeps going. I don’t want us to miss a chance, then I see immediately the defenders start complaining to each other, oh we missed a goal, that means we’re bound to concede one. No! We have to work as a team.

“We have to improve in when we’re under pressure, because I know I don’t have a side that can soak up pressure for ages, that’s not our approach, but we can do better than we are now. You can’t tell me that mentality cannot be improved or coached. I don’t believe it.

“What happened with Spezia infuriated me, because the ball came off the post, we had five players ball-watching while Tommaso Pobega reacted quicker. That is a lack of determination, that is unacceptable.

“Napoli want to always be beautiful, but sometimes being a bit ugly is a good thing. You can’t always be Brad Pitt, with blonde hair and blue eyes. Sometimes you have to be a bit ugly, like me. I look worse than usual now, as I’m all puffed up due to the cortisone shots, but I feel better…”