Sarri: ‘No punishing Napoli’

New Napoli Coach Maurizio Sarri answered fan questions, including on Gonzalo Higuain’s penalties, tactics and squad rotation.

The tactician sat down with Jorginho and Christian Maggio in tonight’s Q&A, confirming he has a very different approach to predecessor Rafa Benitez.

“It is always difficult to say how long it will take to get this team to work. After seven rounds last season my Empoli was bottom of the table.

New Napoli Coach Maurizio Sarri answered fan questions, including on Gonzalo Higuain’s penalties, tactics and squad rotation.

The tactician sat down with Jorginho and Christian Maggio in tonight’s Q&A, confirming he has a very different approach to predecessor Rafa Benitez.

“It is always difficult to say how long it will take to get this team to work. After seven rounds last season my Empoli was bottom of the table.

“We are working on two or three alternative systems. Having said that, we could change during the course of a game.

“I am convinced that the 4-3-3 can be useful every now and then, but at the moment we are focusing more on the 4-3-1-2 and 4-3-2-1.

“This team scored 102 goals last season, which means there’s something good there. When it comes to the new defensive movements, I think it’s just a matter of assimilation.”

Sarri was asked whether Higuain will continue to be the first choice penalty taker after failing to convert four of his last seven for Napoli, plus a costly miss in the Copa America Final for Argentina.

“I asked everyone if they liked taking penalties, even Pepe Reina! I think the taker will be the one who needs it the most at that particular moment.

“There’s no guarantee that those who take penalties well in training do so during a match situation.”

Manolo Gabbiadini and Lorenzo Insigne have impressed so far in pre-season training.

“Insigne doesn’t need to convince me, as he is one of the greatest talents in Italian football at this moment. Marek Hamsik told me his preferred role is in a three-man midfield. If he prefers that position, then obviously it’s where he will give his best. He can also play as a trequartista.

“I absolutely do not believe in squad rotation that is planned months in advance. We’ll take it one week at a time.”

Sarri also had a few warnings for President Aurelio De Laurentiis and the local media.

“People tell me they want to win. I reply that so does everyone else. Napoli finished 24 points off the top spot last season.

Juventus are at the moment off the chart. In four years of winning Scudetti, I never heard Juve putting players into a training retreat as punishment. I don’t believe in punishment really, as obviously you can win without punishing your players.”

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