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Under-pressure Napoli boss Rudi Garcia misses pre-match duties against Udinese

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 26 Sep 2023

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Napoli boss Rudi Garcia did not carry out his pre-match press conference duties on Tuesday as the pressure continued to grow on his position following another fractious weekend in Serie A.

The Partenopei welcome Udinese to the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona with criticism mounting over their faltering start to the defence of the title they won last season and frustration within the camp threatening to boil over.

They are without a win in three league games after Sunday’s goalless draw at Bologna, where striker Victor Osimhen made no secret of his displeasure at Garcia’s decision to substitute him late on after seeing him miss a penalty.

After the match, Garcia told reporters: “Even the greatest players in the history of football miss penalties. As for when he went off, we talked about that, what I say to my players remains in the locker room.”

Reports from Italy – where it has been claimed Garcia has four matches in which to save his job – have suggested Osimhen has since apologised to the manager in front of his team-mates, but with Khvicha Kvaratskhelia having been similarly unimpressed with his withdrawal during the 2-2 draw at Genoa eight days earlier, the optics are far from good.

The champions are already seven points adrift of leaders Inter Milan – who have a 100 per cent record – after five games, although Udinese boss Andrea Sottil had dismissed talk of a crisis.

Sottil told a press conference: “The newspapers say that Napoli are in crisis, but I absolutely don’t think so.

“It’s not my priority to understand if their locker room is working, I’m interested in creating a strategy for the match by working on my players.”

Napoli will have high hopes of a return to winning ways against a side who have drawn three, but won none of their league fixtures to date and currently lie inside the bottom three.

However under-pressure Garcia, who replaced Scudetto-winning boss Luciano Spalletti this summer, will be without defender Juan Jesus, who has been ruled out for several weeks with a grade-one hamstring injury.

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