Luciano Spalletti said his team ‘have to be happy’ with their draw against Cagliari after a substandard performance.
The Partenopei fell 1-0 down in the second half after a Gaston Pereiro opener, but a late Victor Osimhen header salvaged a point for Spalletti’s side against the run of play. Whilst Napoli wasted the chance to join Milan at the top of the league table, they still managed to avoid dropping all points.
Speaking to DAZN after the game, Spalletti first reacted to the draw against Cagliari.
“It was a complicated game for us, Cagliari deserved more. In fact, we deserved something less. We never took the game into our own hands, even though we had more possession. They wanted to play this game here and we wanted to play another.
“We have to be happy with the result because it happens to everyone after these Europa League games. We did too little in terms of quality. Don’t say it’s everyone any more, every time it happens in two days we lose 4-5 players. It was good of Osimhen to be available at the last second, he was at risk of not being in the game.
“Fabian had a problem, he was in pain, to play more than 20 minutes was a risk. As we saw in Barcelona, with his head broken with the eight points he wanted to come back and play the last 30 minutes.
“From this point of view I must recognise a good attitude, but they must also recognise that we must do something more. The quality we have, if we don’t use it, then the decisions are made by others and we have to play games not according to our characteristics.”
He spoke about an argument he had with Elif Elmas at the end of the first half.
“I came here because of a situation that had occurred 20 minutes earlier. So it was easy to comment on that situation there. Every now and then I get the odd smile when I’m on the bench, that’s the wrong face!
“But you understand each other with the players. We made mistakes in the build-up to the game, we were hesitant to take the initiative and in tackling. A lot of teams make these moves forward, until they end up man-to-man on the defensive line, and it’s difficult to play the ball.
“It’s a ball on you, a play made on the feet of whoever is coming at you. And there’s always the opponent behind you pressing you. You have to be able to withstand these duels, today we didn’t do much and we never managed the ball.”
The Italian coach reacted to the fact that none of the top six teams managed to pick up a one this weekend, and how that affects the title race.
“In my opinion, it will now be complicated to play on these pitches where there is a fight to avoid relegation. In December several teams were settled, the managers know how to do it.
“Capozucca is one of those who knows how to do it, Walter Sabatini the same. They’ve put players in to complete the team and give it new motivation.”
Finally, Spalletti looked ahead to Napoli’s upcoming matches against Barcelona, Lazio and Milan.
“There will definitely be excitement. We hope to play them with players who are fit and in a position to play, because they’re the ones who carry the ball.
“We hope to have them all available. These are games that when you go back as a child and think about them, you dream about them and you have to experience them in the right way. I’ve waited a lifetime to play them.”
Napoli’s draw means that they remain 3rd in the Serie A table, two points behind Milan and tied on points with second place Inter.
— Sportface (@sportface2016) February 21, 2022