Gennaro Gattuso wants to ‘always see this mentality’ from Napoli after they crushed Roma 4-0, but insists they ‘earned 18 points and hope justice can be served.’
The Partenopei wanted to dedicate this result to Diego Maradona and it was a memorable night on the field too, winning the Derby del Sud 4-0.
“We have to play with this intensity in every single game, with this atmosphere on the team bus, in the dressing room, throughout the match. Take nothing for granted,” Gattuso told Sky Sport Italia.
“What I liked was the attitude today. When there was an error from a teammate, they helped each other out, applauded rather than telling them to go **** themselves, that’s what I like to see.
“Perhaps it’s my fault, because in order to not stress the players out, I let things go, I go easy. Now I realise I can never let anything go and I can’t afford to go easy on them. Times have changed.
“We know that with the fixture list as packed as it is, we can’t always be at 100 per cent in every single game. But that’s why mentality is so important, because it can allow you to push through difficulties, to keep going and raise the bar. I see the mentality as the issue here, we need to find the balance of playing good football, but as a team.”
It was an emotional night at the Stadio San Paolo, soon to be named the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona, but Gattuso pointed out we are still in a pandemic with hundreds of deaths in Italy every single day.
“There is a sense of sadness, but at this moment I think the city must also show common sense. I am seeing too many people going around without their masks.
“Maradona is a legend, everyone knows that, and I understand the desire to express that affection, but I hope from tomorrow the city will get back to being sensible, or we’ll all pay the consequences later.”
In the absence of Victor Osimhen, Napoli used the 4-2-3-1 formation with Piotr Zielinski in a more advanced role behind Mertens the centre-forward.
“It’s not just a tactical issue. Having a deep-lying midfielder does certainly give a little more balance, especially against a side like Roma who want to play through balls,” continued the coach.
“Zielinski is one of the best players we have, but he had COVID and frankly was struggling to stay on his feet for a while. It took some time to get him back into shape.
“He has technique, physicality and intelligence, he has everything it takes to be a truly great player.”
This 4-0 win allows Napoli to climb up to 17 points, one point adrift of Inter and Sassuolo.
Of course, the Partenopei not only had the 3-0 result against Juventus awarded against them for not travelling amid COVID restrictions, but were also docked one point.
“As far as I am concerned, we have 18 points. We earned 18 points. We were on the team bus at the airport when the call came, but at that moment I felt we really could’ve picked up a result in Turin. Trust me, the situation did not benefit us in any way, shape or form. Hopefully, justice can be served,” added Gattuso.
That decision is pending another appeal, with Napoli eager to have the point penalty removed and organise a rescheduled trip to the Juventus Stadium.
“In my view, Inter are the team to beat. They combine quality with physical strength, they have so many options available and they are the favourites. Then there’s Juventus, who are accustomed to being up there.”