Napoli’s coach Luciano Spalletti has reacted to his side’s historic capitulation against Empoli in a Serie A game on Sunday.
The Blues were 10 minutes away from securing an important win for their Scudetto chase but lost the game 3-2 having led 2-0 for 79 minutes of the game.
For the first time since March 1942 Napoli lost a game in Serie A after leading by two goals and coach Spalleti has absolved his player of the blame.
“I can only take note of what happens. Clearly, imagining an end to the game like that was difficult, but when you don’t have the right intensity and concentration… We made a few too many mistakes, lost the ball too cheaply,” Spalletti told DAZN with barely a whisper.
“Inevitably, the coach has to shoulder much of the blame for the attitude and consistency. The responsibility lies with the coach.
“It depends on what you build day by day, the attitude that is consolidated, being focused, attentive. Something evidently went wrong,” added Spalletti.
“When we talk about an error like that, some fear sets in and the opponents can take advantage. Even if Empoli hadn’t won for a while, they played good football. These things can happen in football and it happened.”
Meret’s howler was the turning point for 2-2, as he was pressed into an error from six yards by Pinamonti, another sign of the difficulties when playing out from the back.
“It’s important for us to keep possession, because our characteristics are not suited to the battle. Even then, it didn’t seem to be a battle to that level to become unsustainable for these players.
“I am responsible for this team, for their attitude, their approach, so I take the consequences for what happens on the field.
“Much of it has to be my fault. We’ve been working together for almost a year, there ought to be a mentality and reaction coming from my work with these players. We were challenging for the Scudetto, as everyone said, we had the qualities to challenge for the Scudetto, but if the level is this, I cannot avoid being called into question.”
Spalletti was asked how this downturn, with one point from the last three games, will affect both his future and that of the Napoli players.
“Don’t worry about that now, let’s talk about the match. We need to qualify for the Champions League and the club will make its evaluations at the end of the season. We resume work from Tuesday with great calm and then we’ll see.”