UEFA Europa League


Gennaro Gattuso has called on his Napoli side to show respect to Rijeka when they take on the Croatian outfit in Europa League Group F Matchday 3 on Thursday evening.

“I have bad memories of Rijeka – we need to produce a proper Napoli performance,”  said Gattuso, speaking in his pre-match press conference on Wednesday. “I know this ground because I lost here with AC Milan. They’ve changed since then but this is a tricky match. Rather than thinking about the opposition, I want us to produce a performance worthy of this club. I want to see the same kind of attitude we saw in Spain.”

Gattuso was keen to stress that Rijeka will provide his side with a stern test in Croatia on Thursday.

“There aren’t games that are easier than others in Europe,” he said. “You need to show all teams maximum respect because there are no easy games at this level. We’ll need to be 100% focused.”

The Azzurri coach went on to comment on suggestions that his team need to bounce back quickly after the weekend’s defeat to Sassuolo.

“I don’t think this is a game in which we need to prove anything in particular,” said Gattuso. “I don’t agree with some of the criticism we’ve had. Against AZ we fell behind but we dominated the play. Against Sassuolo we had seven chances and gave virtually none away. I think we’re on the right track. Obviously we need to improve and deal with a few things, but it’s only through hard work during the week that we’re going to make everything click with our play.”

Gattuso shied away from confirming whether or not Lorenzo Insigne will be fit enough to come back into the team for the game.

“We’ll see,” he said. “Apart from [Victor] Osimhen, who is suspended, I have everyone available. We’ll assess Lorenzo’s fitness tomorrow morning and then make a call on how to proceed.”

Last but certainly not least, Gattuso had a word for Diego Maradona, who is recovering in hospital in Argentina.

“We look forward to having him back at Castelvolturno so we can all give him a hug,” he said. “He made history at Napoli and has seen it all. He’ll come through this with flying colours too."

(Photo Getty Images)