Luciano Spalletti reacted to the fans’ frustration, if the squad’s mindset had changed after their failed title bid and Lorenzo Insigne’s final home match.
Poor results in 2022 saw Napoli slip out of the title race, allowing Milan and Inter to turn it into a two-horse race. Regardless, Spalletti’s side have qualified for the Champions League and can confirm their third place finish with a win over Genoa tomorrow.
Speaking to gathered reporters in a press conference, Spalletti first reacted to the banner that read that he’d be given back his stolen Fiat Panda if he left the club.
“If the press conference starts like this! First of all we have to see in what condition the Panda will be returned in, how many kilometres it has travelled, whether there are Pino Daniele CDs inside. We’ll evaluate when that happens.”
He touched on if the team’s state of mind had changed following the confirmation that they were out of the title race.
“Maybe, I didn’t find an air of protest, but indifference, which is worse, many no longer felt a bond with Napoli. At times I seemed alone in believing in this Napoli, today in the Champions League there is regret for not having fought until the end, something has changed and I feel less alone.
“There are many more who believe in this Napoli, otherwise we’ll take back the Champions League starting grids made by the newspapers. I wanted to bring them at the last, but I can bring them now.
The Italian coach spoke about if his future at the club depended on him settling into the city.
“Living in a hotel is a full dedication to work, there is more opportunity to socialise in a hotel than at home. I have found the solution. I received a quote for a camper van and next year I will tour the neighbourhood every month so I can attend all the local festivals.
“I will make a stop in Piazza Dante in front of the historic Pironti bookshop, which I didn’t get to know in time and where I would have happily played a game of chess. I started reading some of his book, my son who has a passion for boxing pointed it out to me.”
Spalletti discussed his emotions when he read the banner telling him to leave the club.
“The fans say we aren’t there, then I found a sheet benevolent towards me. If I show it to you and you read it, you can make them the articles, they have the same value because even two can put up a banner.
“The important thing is that the whole of Napoli made our banner by signing an intense and difficult season, reaching an important goal, the most important after the title.
“There is also an understandable regret for that period, we are the first to be sorry, but we have come a long way and the players have overcome important adversities.
“We went to play in Turin as 12, those results there are important, we had important away victories, but we only remember the ones we failed to win at home. We have to be proud of this team.”
He commented on his work building the Napoli of the future.
“Of course, Giuntoli is here, we talk every day, he watches the training sessions. We will be strong if we have strong players who think in the right way, with professional behaviour, also with fans who support us because they are important.
“Like information that respects us and not artfully creating two thousand doubts, if you take all the things from this week you don’t they throw the fuse to set something off. The environment needs to be as clean as possible. All this is needed, steps forward can be taken.”
The Napoli coach spoke about what kind of atmosphere at expects at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona for Insigne’s final home match.
“In the meantime there is a very difficult competition and the podium to reach, football has only one chance to survive in the hearts of the people, to be credible. We want to play an intense, real match for our fans who show that so many love us and we must give them a performance of the highest level.
“I remember very difficult matches like the one against Verona, which gave merit to football, the one against Genoa when Roma were fighting for the Champions League with Napoli, there are all the reasons for a good match and then it’s Lorenzo’s last at home.
“Among the many reasons that pushed me to accept Napoli is also being able to work with Insigne, even for just one year it was a source of pride and I thank him for his professionalism and availability towards me and my teammates.
“He was an important reference and of course like all the others he has the merit of having produced this result, always with the regret of that period.”
Spalletti discussed if he’d sign a renewal for a third year.
“I am the Napoli coach for the second year, if you have doubts say so, I don’t have any. The third is too far in the future, here there are new things every morning when we get up and there is something new. Beyond the game, we also think about creating an ever stronger Napoli.
“I appreciate those who want to stimulate us, those who aim for ever more ambitious goals, but sometimes you have to fight with things that are out of proportion, sometimes even artfully done to destroy the improvements made from last year to this one, and there are many things.
“We have to lose a bit of energy defending ourselves, but we go ahead to build an even stronger Napoli.”
The former Inter coach commented on if anything different would be tried in the future.
“No experiments, we’ll field the formation that is considered strongest for a very difficult match like the one against Genoa, which has made obvious steps forward with the new course.
“We’ll have to suffer, you’ll see, they implement this system that we’ve spoken about many times, they beat you, they have physicality, frenzy at all times, we’ll have to field the best formation.”
He touched on why the Napoli atmosphere appears to be toxic at the moment.
“We have already talked about it, our banner is the fact that we have reached the Champions League. As to why you tell me? You are aware of the people who hang around, hang around here, feed doubts about the work done. Why did we lay down our arms before Turin? I ask you.
“Why did we go to Turin for a walk? If you want I’ll show you when you had doubts about the Champions League, we can see plenty. Where did you put us in the predictions? A banner that one or two people might have stuck up, you put it on the front page.
“I arrived here at 8, after Empoli at 7.30, two people attached a banner, I gave them a hand as well. How come ADL said I was the best coach, a great person and trainer and then that I was little Partenope? You only took it that I am un-Partenope, not that I am a great coach.
“You raise dust. Atmosphere? I don’t know, I read that there is opposition among the fans, but those I meet think like us, sorry but happy with the course. But why is only one aspect highlighted? People already know and I try to bring as many of them as possible closer together.”
Spalletti discussed how he’d describe Insigne in one word.
“Just one is little. Professional, I’ve found him very professional in everything, as I said before, available with his characteristics to help everyone, to chase the full-backs, even dropping deep in defence, he’s someone who runs a lot, with his behaviour he teaches all his teammates.
“I think we’ve always done that, in addition to the important foot he has. I realise that even if the game sometimes takes something away from him physically or on a structural level, but he has top player qualities.”
Finally, Spalletti expressed frustration with journalists behaviour and their choice of stories.
“For my players it’s also worth pointing out that the players trained on the day off before Turin, everyone says what they like. It was written that we had laid down our arms and were going to Turin like that, where is the honesty?
“One more training day and you highlight what? If one chooses to write that, it is a choice of wanting to create annoyance. Respect as you say, but also for the players who come to train understanding the particular moment in which to take an extra step for a more successful Napoli.”
— La Gazzetta dello Sport (@Gazzetta_it) May 13, 2022