Sarri challenges Napoli to bounce back in Serie A

Naples side top of Italian league but have only a point’s cushion over defending champions Juventus

Afp February 16, 2018


Napoli coach Maurizio Sarri on Friday blasted his side's "bad attitude" in a 3-1 Europa League defeat to RB Leipzig but stressed that his team's focus this season was on the Serie A title.

"It was a bad defeat, we lacked enthusiasm, hunger and determination," said Sarri after the last 32, first leg loss at a sparsely attended San Paolo Stadium in Naples.

Both Napoli and Juventus turn their focus back to their duel at the top of the Serie A league after a week of mixed fortunes in European action for Italian teams.

Napoli — who lead Juventus by one point — host SPAL who occupy the first relegation spot as Juventus look for a derby boost at Torino, days after throwing away a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 with Tottenham at home in the Champions League.

"The team didn't play with the right attitude for the colours they represent and the story it represents. This has disappointed me a lot," said Sarri. "The mentality must always be the right one. Games can be won or lost, but the mentality must always be right."

Sarri, whose side had dropped to the second-tier European competition from the elite Champions League, insisted the goal remained a first Scudetto since the glory days of Diego Maradona back in 1990 — but he wanted to see more character from his side.

"It is clear that the primary objective is the championship, but in Europe we have to understand that we need consistent performances to avoid making a bad impression,” he said.

Allegri said he would not be dwelling on the Spurs draw ahead of Sunday's league return game at Torino, who they crushed 4-0 back in September at the Allianz Stadium.

There was good news for the Juventus boss as Paulo Dybala, Sami Khedira, Mario Mandzukic and Benedikt Howedes all returned to training on Friday, although Blaise Matuidi is still recovering from a muscle strain.

"We will have Dybala and Matuidi back in time for Wembley," continued Allegri, "but now this match needs to be put aside so that we can concentrate on Serie A and stay hot on the heels of Napoli."