Luciano Spalletti reacted with irritation in his press conference ahead of Napoli’s trip to Legia Warsaw. ‘It’s not true that we don’t care about the Europa League.’
It kicks off in Warsaw on Thursday at 17.45 GMT.
Legia had won both previous games in the group and are still the leaders, but were beaten 3-0 at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona.
At the start of his press conference in Poland, Spalletti was asked why he had left behind Victor Osimhen, Lorenzo Insigne, Fabian Ruiz and Mario Rui.
“We do not have a weakened squad, we have a group that allows us to replace a few players who have been working constantly. We came here to win the game,” assured the coach.
“The Europa League is a competition we care about. We know it’s difficult, but we are here for the victory. It’s not just about it being the Europa League compared to Serie A, because Insigne didn’t start at the weekend either, he has a muscular issue. We left behind those who risked injury if they played here.
“Having more players and the five substitutions is important, as it allows more players to participate, it prevents injuries.”
The coach became increasingly irritated when questions suggested Napoli do not care about the Europa League.
“Why shouldn’t we care? I struggle to understand this attitude. I send signals to the players who haven’t done as much due to injuries, for example Diego Demme, that playing them means we don’t want to win? That would be unprofessional.
“Alex Meret is playing tomorrow, but he’s playing because he’s just as good a goalkeeper as David Ospina, not because the game doesn’t matter.”
— Gianluca Di Marzio (@DiMarzio) November 3, 2021