Maurizio Sarri has insisted that Napoli only has Serie A in their minds, but warns his side must not always try to 'walk the ball into the net' following their narrow 1-0 victory over SPAL.
This game followed on from a 3-1 defeat to RB Leipzig in the Europa League where questions were asked over Napoli's desire to go any further in the competition. Despite never really being threatened throughout, Napoli failed to put the game beyond SPAL and if it weren't for Allan's sixth minute, may have fallen to a shock goalless draw.
None the less, Napoli got the victory they needed to take them back to the top of Serie A, remaining just one point ahead of Juventus.
Speaking after the victory, Sarri said: ''I expected a response after the Cup game. We started so well today that we immediately took the game in hand and forgot to finish it off.
''That was a mistake on our part, as you can’t be this in control and yet leave the result open to the 90th minute. Perhaps subconsciously the players saw how easily they were slicing through SPAL and thought they didn’t need to maintain that level of determination, but that’s very wrong.
''The game reminded me of the one with Sassuolo, where we conceded the equaliser at the first shot on target. We became too lazy and wanted to walk the ball into the net. We were acting 10 minutes from time as if we were 3-0 up, not 1-0.
🎙 #Sarri: “A good display from a technical and tactical point of view, but we didn't manage to kill it off. Top defensive performance, I'm pleased, but we lacked a clinical edge."— Official SSC Napoli (@en_sscnapoli) February 18, 2018
⚽️ #NapoliSpal 1-0
💙 #ForzaNapoliSempre pic.twitter.com/ncHfZRvYcq
When asked if Napoli were wrong to field a weakened side in the Europa League, the manager said: ''I don’t think we snubbed the tournament. Everyone rotates their squad in the Europa League and it was an invasive fixture because it came 72 hours before SPAL.
''Aside from that, I did expect more enthusiasm from those who were on the pitch. This team appears to only have Serie A in its mind and has no motivation for anything else.''
Napoli will be hoping that putting all their eggs in one basket can pay off, and that they can hold onto their small lead at the top of Serie A.