By 90Min
February 22, 2018

Maurizio Sarri has admitted that his Napoli team played 'like buffoons' in their Europa League last-32 first leg clash with RB Leipzig.

The boss of I Ciucciarelli told reporters at his pre-match press conference (h/t Football Italia) ahead of the return leg that he shouldered much of the blame for the 3-1 loss to the German outfit last Thursday.

However, Sarri also stated that his players and staff should take a tiny portion of the blame and urged his stars to take today's match by the scruff of the neck to stand any chance of progressing to the next round.

Francesco Pecoraro/GettyImages

He said: “We played like buffoons in the first leg and 70 per cent of that is my fault, 10 per cent the club, 10 per cent the players and 10 per cent the staff.

“It certainly wasn’t the fault of the reserve players, because we had our worst part of the performance when the first choice players came on.

“Tomorrow (Thursday) we must step on to the field with the desire to win and prove ourselves. Hopefully the incidents can go our way, so we can have a shot at qualification.

“I don’t know what percentage we have of qualifying, but it’s obvious Leipzig are over-riding favourites. We don’t play differently at home or away, but we need to make up for the first leg and have a little bit of madness to think we can qualify."

The Argentine also explained why he felt his club's fanbase was only concerned with winning the Serie A title this season and weren't unduly bothered about Napoli's hopes of the Europa League crown.

He added: “Last Thursday’s performance was a bolt from the blue for me as well. At the San Paolo, we simply weren’t able to recharge our batteries after the Serie A match. At the moment we are a little short-staffed too, so that doesn’t help.

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“However, it’s obvious the team is playing with heart and determination in Serie A, whereas we can’t do that in other competitions.

“I don’t think the fans are divided, as they are focused on Serie A because Napoli haven’t won there in 30 years, but we mustn’t be influenced by what the fans want. We must push the fans forward and charge them up. I will admit, right now our fans are only interested in the Scudetto.”

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