Friday February 26 2016
ADL: ‘Nothing to reproach Napoli’

Napoli President Aurelio De Laurentiis has “nothing to reproach the team or Coach” after Europa League elimination.

The Partenopei were knocked out of the competition last night, drawing 1-1 with Villarreal after a 1-0 defeat in the first leg.

“Losing doesn’t please anyone, but we have nothing to reproach ourselves,” De Laurentiis told reporters outside a meeting of the Lega Calcio.

“The team played very well last night, and once again proved that we can score even without strikers - [Marek] Hamsik scored a beautiful goal after a pass forward from [Mirko] Valdifiori.

“I have nothing to reproach the team or Sarri, we had more possession of the ball, we looked to impose our game.

“I won’t say we were unlucky, in football as in life it’s what you do that matters, but we played a good game.

“Will it affect the Scudetto challenge? No, it’ll have no impact. It seemed to me yesterday that the team suffered from recent results, but people always imagine a team depends on a single player.

“I keep reading about a lack of goals from [Gonzalo] Higuain, but what do you expect from him? It may be that he weights a kilo-and-a-half more, which is like walking around with a brick in your pocket.

“He has to rediscover the brilliant physical condition he was in a month ago, then the results will come back.

“For me though, it takes everyone, and I think everyone is at a high level. There’s no A-team and B-team, every player is on a level.

“I repeat: I have nothing to reproach the team or the Coach.”

De Laurentiis also clarified Sarri’s contract, as he was initially given just a one-year deal with an option for more.

“Sarri has a contract with four options. I can unilaterally exercise the option and confirm our agreement on the pre-determined terms.

“I’ve underwritten a contract to keep Sarri with me for five years. It may be that we’re married for life, or there will be a hiccup which leads to a divorce, but I put in these clauses - to be confirmed each year - to protect the club.

“It’s the same thing I did with [Rafa] Benitez: one year with a renewal option. After the first year he wanted to return to England, to Liverpool, but I told him I had to replacement and activated the clause.

“I repeat, Sarri has a contract with four options.”