25.09.2015 17:30 - in: Serie A S

      Sarri expects open contest

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      The Napoli manager predicts an open affair against the Bianconeri on Saturday evening, underlining the importance of the fixture for an entire city

      Maurizio Sarri has said that he expects to see an open game of football when the Bianconeri make the trip to the San Paolo for Saturday evening.

      The Neapolitan coach, renowned for his propensity for possession-based, attack-minded football, acknowledged that Massimiliano Allegri’s men would also set out to dictate the rhythm of play, thus presenting a very different task to that which faced them in their goalless draw with Carpi two days ago.

      Speaking to the media just after observing the Partonopei’s training session, he began: “We always look to be in control of the match, but I believe that’s also Juventus’ aim. I expect an open encounter with one of the two sides eventually taking the upper hand.

      "On Wednesday we came across a team that came out to defend and they gave us some tricky moments. My players, however, showed great energy and tried to unlock their rearguard, but in the end we couldn’t quite manage it. The boys ran a lot and that’s backed up by the data.”

      After collecting six points from their first five fixtures, the Partonopei have made their worst start to a Serie A season since 2009.

      However, Sarri stressed the need to take each game at a time, as the players settle into a new way of playing since the 56-year-old’s arrival from Empoli in the summer.

      And he was also quick to deny that Massimiliano Allegri’s charges were suffering a ‘crisis’ of their own after making a similarly slow beginning to their domestic campaign.

      “Right now we’ve a head-to-head decider for the middle-to-lower part of the table, but I’m realistic and I know that they’re a side that is writing the history of Italian football and came close to doing the same on the European front. We’ve only just started a project and so now is not the time to be talking about long-term objectives.

      “Juventus played well against Frosinone in a match that somehow ended up finishing 1-1. I would hardly say that they’re in a crisis. They made mistakes in the first two games and have had some injuries and new players to bed in. But I would be very wary of terming them a side in difficulty. We know that they’re capable of stringing together ten wins in a row, while that’s not yet clear with Inter.”

      "I will drum home to my players that this is a one-off match, I know how much it means to the fans."

      Maurizio Sarri 25/09/2015

      Turning his attentions back to his own side, Sarri confirmed that he was happy with how his charges were stepping up their preparations, whilst shedding some light on what his adversaries can expect from his line-up in the coming games.

      “The team is now in good shape physically. We’re at a point where we ought not to rotate so many players. They’re training well and the players have the right mentality.

      “The 4-3-1-2 formation with Lorenzo Insigne behind the forwards is a feasible option only for short periods of the match. We’ve midfielders who play better as a three and so the situation I just described can only last a maximum 15 minutes, otherwise we’d find ourselves in difficulty.”

      Meanwhile on former Juve forward Manolo Gabbiadini, he added: “I’m convinced that his best position is as an out-and-out striker. He’s improving physically, he’s a strong player and he’s better suited playing with two up front as opposed to three.”

      Wrapping up the news conference, Sarri emphasised the importance of Napoli-Juventus meetings, especially for what is traditionally a partisan crowd at the San Paolo.

      He concluded: “I will drum home to my players that this is a one-off match, I know how much it means to the fans. The opposition is strong and this team has always played well in the big games. I hope that on Saturday they can do the same and be at one with the rest of the city.

      “We need to play a game which makes our fans proud. How to stop Cuadrado? I never worry about how to block the opponents from playing, but I focus instead on how to impose my own style on proceedings.”

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