Friday January 20 2017
Sarri: ‘Won’t settle for second’

Napoli Coach Maurizio Sarri won’t settle for second-place - “if I settled I’d still be in Serie C”.

Juventus’ defeat to Fiorentina on Sunday night has given hope that the Bianconeri could be vulnerable this season, and the Partenopei boss wouldn’t settle for finishing behind them.

“I’m not settling for anything, no kind of position,” Sarri insisted in his Press conference ahead of the Milan game.

“If I’d settled 10 years ago I’d still be in Serie C, I won’t sign up for anything now. Of course, Juventus remain of a different class, you just have to look at the balance sheets to see that.

Sarri was then asked about the dangers Milan will pose to his side tomorrow night.

“There are times when Milan will cause problems for us and times when we’ll trouble them. We have to take our chances well.

“They have strong players who are good technically and can beat their man easily. They create problems for everyone, so we have to realise that they’ll do the same to us.

“They’re good at playing between the lines.

“I think it’ll tell each of us a lot about where we are, it’s an important test for both. They’ve made important steps thanks to their Coach [Vincenzo Montella], they’ve pulled everyone together which wasn’t easy.

“It’ll be a difficult game for us, and this is a strange season. You can’t get it wrong with the smaller teams and you also have to win the direct clashes, because there are five or six teams with really impressive point averages.”

The tactician was then asked about players who have played less, including Allan and new arrival Leonardo Pavoletti.

“In my opinion Allan is doing better than last year,” Sarri said.

“The fact is that we have [Piotr] Zielinski there too who is destined for a great career. Even though Allan is playing less, I think his average output is higher.

“As for Pavoletti, he’s fine. He’s yet to reach the same condition as his teammates, after his knee injury and training separately.

“To get into that condition he needs to play, so it’s a bit of a Catch-22, but he’s improving.”

Finally, Sarri was asked about Napoli legend Diego Maradona’s visit to training this week.

“I don’t get excited about anything, but I was quite moved. For people of my generation, Maradona is football.

“He’s everything for Naples, because unique victories came with him, he’s the idol of the whole city. He’s a legend who goes beyond the shirt, and you can’t do anything but admire him.

“I hope these feelings were also transmitted to the players, though I know it’s a different generation and they didn’t live through it.”

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