“Our defeat in Milan has left us smarting and wound up about what happened. However I’m convinced that we can bounce back right away.” Luciano Spalletti shared his thoughts on how things are going at a press conference a day ahead of Napoli’s away trip to Sampdoria.
Before speaking to the media a minute’s silence was held in honour of Gianluca Vialli.
"I’ve got a personal memory of Gianluca. When I was playing for Entella Bacezza we faced Sampdoria in a friendly. I found myself tussling for a ball with him and I fell over, but he then ran 20 metres back to where I was lying to give me a hand up. He was a true leader and a champion who kept his feet on the ground. He was a man of great vision and ideas both on and off the pitch. He was a wonderful and generous person who always had time for others. He gave his all even when he was suffering with his illness, which is a lesson to us all. Thanks, Gianluca.”
What have Napoli learnt from the defeat to Inter?
“We've learnt that it's ok to lose sometimes, although unfortunately it means our lead has been cut to five points - it's not eight anymore. We're angry with ourselves because we didn't play the way we can. We don't want to settle for this gap we've created between ourselves and our rivals in the table.
“We play every game with the same desire and determination to win, even against our Scudetto rivals. Unfortunately we weren't able to play our usual game at San Siro.
“You have to factor your opponents into the equation too of course and Inter are a team with strength and quality built to win the title. We had two or three chances to score but our mentality must be that of the league leaders, not the league's surprise package.”
Will you rotate the team tomorrow?
“The team I pick tomorrow will not be based on what happened at San Siro but ideas we had before that game. We might make three or four changes to the starting line-up in Genoa.”
What sort of game are you expecting?
"For a start, they're going to be fired up after their win over Sassuolo. They're also desperate for points to haul themselves out of trouble. We're aware of the difficulties we'll face. We must make sure we perform to the best of our ability.”
Do you think the team is mature enough to be the league leaders?
"I think we showed maturity at San Siro. We feel the criticism is misplaced because that's the approach we should take – looking to make the most of our resources and consolidate our advantage in the standings.”
How's Kvara after the way he was man-handled in Milan?
“That's what it's like for skilful players like Kvara: they have to deal with the attention they get from opponents while looking for ways to decide games. When they don't, it looks like they've had an off day. But despite everything he still had a couple of moments at San Siro that could have ended up being decisive. We're confident because he's improving his condition and in time we'll see the match-winner we know he is.”
Do you think Napoli need to show a bit more character in certain areas of the pitch?
“I think we have lots of players with character besides players with the talent to impose themselves on matches. We just need to get back to playing our usual game at our usual intensity. We're the same side that's picked up all those results so far; we just need to reproduce the quality and strength we have in this team.”