Gennaro Gattuso’s assistant insists Napoli ‘deserve congratulations’ for topping their Europa League group and reveals the loss to AZ Alkmaar was a turning point.
In the last match of the Europa League's group stage, Napoli played against Real Sociedad in Diego Armando Maradona Stadium. The game ended 1-1 with Real Sociedad's last-minute goal. Finally, Napoli reached the knockout stage of the tournament with 10 points as the group leader.
We already knew full well how difficult this group was, so the lads deserve congratulations for coming out on top
," assistant Ricci told Sky Sport Italia.
"They needed sacrifice and determination in every game in order to then make the most of our strengths. We were up against a strong team in good shape, but we did well.
"Attitude is the most important thing and from tomorrow we'll keep pushing that aspect even more. We cannot ever do without the right attitude, because that comes even before tactics and talent. This is why the team deserves to go through as group winners."
Real Sociedad have excelled this season and are currently second in La Liga, but Napoli have conceded just one goal over two games against Real Sociedad.
"We are working hard on defensive improvements and that starts from the forwards, who sacrifice themselves for their teammates. Distances are important and they have to keep it tight.
Good defending derives from keeping possession with quality, but tonight Real Sociedad forced us to have less possession than we had hoped,
" continued Ricci.
"We weren't happy with the opening defeat to AZ Alkmaar, but the performance itself wasn't that bad. We had another two or three similar games, so the results with Sassuolo and AZ made us reflect on what we needed to work on.
"Now we focus far more on the aspects that need to improve and keep the players on their toes even when they are doing well."
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