Maurizio Sarri spoke to the press ahead of Napoli’s Round of 32 Europa League second leg clash against RB Leipzig.
Napoli lost 3-1 at home in the first leg last Thursday in a terrible performance and Maurizio Sarri discussed last week’s game in his press conference.
“We played like buffoons in the first leg and 70 per cent of that is my fault, 10 per cent the club, 10 per cent the players and 10 per cent the staff. It certainly wasn’t the fault of the reserve players, because we had our worst part of the performance when the first choice players came on. Tomorrow we must step on to the field with the desire to win and prove ourselves. Hopefully the incidents can go our way, so we can have a shot at qualification.”
Sarri proceeded to then talk about two of his best players as well as going into more depth about last week’s game.
“I think Mertens is healthy, but I will only check his fitness levels tomorrow morning. Zielinski is a pure talent. He also has great physical qualities and can play in any area of the pitch. He’ll be the new Kevin De Bruyne.”
“I don’t know what percentage we have of qualifying, but it’s obvious Leipzig are over-riding favourites. We don’t play differently at home or away, but we need to make up for the first leg and have a little bit of madness to think we can qualify. Last Thursday’s performance was a bolt from the blue for me as well. At the San Paolo, we simply weren’t able to recharge our batteries after the Serie A match. At the moment we are a little short-staffed too, so that doesn’t help. However, it’s obvious the team is playing with heart and determination in Serie A, whereas we can’t do that in other competitions. It’s a step up this team must make, probably once we increase the squad and are more able to handle several different tournaments.”
Questions have been asked about where Napoli’s priorities have been this season as Sarri’s side exited the Champions League in the Group Stages and are likely to go out of the Europa League tomorrow.
“I don’t think the fans are divided, as they are focused on Serie A because Napoli haven’t won there in 30 years, but we mustn’t be influenced by what the fans want. We must push the fans forward and charge them up. I will admit, right now our fans are only interested in the Scudetto.”
In addition to Napoli’s performances on the pitch it is rumoured that RB Leipzig built a new wall in the away dressing room to allow Sarri to smoke. The Napoli manager has built up a reputation for being a heavy smoker.
“We always ask for a different room for the staff, seeing as there wasn’t one. If they allow us to smoke, then that’s even better.”