Friday, November 15, 2019

Napoli captain Insigne backs Ancelotti amid rift rumours

SoccerNews in Serie A 6 Nov 2019

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Lorenzo Insigne mounted a strong defence of Napoli head coach Carlo Ancelotti following the frustrating 1-1 Champions League draw against Salzburg.

Hirving Lozano cancelled out Erling Haaland’s early opener at Stadio San Paolo but the Serie A side failed to find the winner that would have confirmed their place in the knockout rounds.

Tuesday’s draw extended Napoli’s winless run to four games in all competitions and Ancelotti’s failure to appear for the customary post-match news conference did nothing to dispel rumours of division at the club.

The former AC Milan and Real Madrid boss has reportedly been at odds with Aurelio de Laurentiis over the outspoken president’s decision to order the first-team squad into a training retreat.

Ancelotti appears to be under an increasing amount of pressure but retains the backing of his captain. 

“We’re a close-knit group and that’s down to the coach as he maintains calm and has tried to take the pressure off us in this difficult spell,” Insigne said.

“We’re grateful to him and we all want to perform well for him. He helps us so much and he deserves success.

“We must look forward and think positive. Everything is in our hands and we’re determined to wrap up qualification in our two remaining games.”

Napoli are a point behind leaders Liverpool in Group E and four ahead of third-placed Salzburg, who were on the back foot for much of Tuesday’s match.

“We deserved to win the game – we created loads of chances but needed to be more clinical with our finishing,” Insigne added.

“We have to play with this same spirit and belief all the time because our luck will turn.”

Despite his exceptional pedigree, Ancelotti has struggled to extract the best from Napoli since taking over in the wake of Maurizio Sarri’s acrimonious exit.

The Partenopei finished well off the pace of Serie A champions Juventus last term and sit seventh – 11 points behind the titleholders – after 11 games of the new season.

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