Sarri: "Team showed real spirit in defeat"

Notizie | 22/02/2018

The Napoli boss praised his side despite their elimination from the Europa League

Maurizio Sarri identified the spirit shown by his team as the one positive to take as Napoli were eliminated from the Europa League after a 3-3 aggregate draw with RB Leipzig.

"We’re disappointed to be out, but the positive side is that the team showed real spirit," said the coach after full time at the Red Bull Arena. "Unfortunately, we made a big mistake in the last minute of the first leg. We played as if it was the end of extra time and we had to throw everything forward.

"Instead, we should have been more switched on and focused on the second leg. We’ve paid a high price for that mistake, because we showed that we can match Leipzig tonight."

Despite the result, Sarri did reserve praise for his side’s performance in their 2-0 win in Germany.

"Tonight’s performance was a good reaction and sends out a message to the league," he said. "That’s what we need to take from this game. Sometimes we’re overly critical because we ask too much of these players. Perhaps our squad is a bit short for us to compete in Italy and in Europe. That’s not an excuse, but something to consider.

"It’s a shame because despite a great performance, we leave with a bitter taste in the mouth. That said, the team showed its identity and spirit tonight."

Sarri then turned his attentions to Serie A.

"The only consolation is that we’ll have more time to train over the next three months in the league," he said. "Over the two games, I think we could have gone through, and deservedly so had we not been a bit naïve in the first leg."