UEFA Europa League


Gennaro Gattuso has called on his Napoli squad to ensure they are at their best when they take on Real Sociedad in the final Matchday of Europa League Group F on Thursday.

“We know it’s going to be tough tomorrow, so I hope to see a big Napoli performance,” said the Azzurri boss, speaking at the pre-match press conference on Wednesday. “We knew this group would be difficult as soon as the draw was made and I expected us to have to fight until the final day to secure qualification. We’re ending the group against a top side, but Rijeka and AZ are good teams too.”

Gattuso spoke positively about the players in his squad this season.

“I know we have a quality squad that can compete on all fronts,” he said. “I’m really pleased with what we’ve achieved so far. We want to keep this up. In my eyes, this can be the perfect team if it plays to its full potential. When I say we need to improve our mentality, that means staying strong when you’re having a bad day to keep yourself in the game.”

The Napoli boss also addressed the role of Lorenzo Insigne within the team.

“I have a very straight, open relationship with Lorenzo,” he said. “He knows that he needs to grow in character if he’s to get the best out of his talent. That’s why I said what I said in recent weeks. He’s our captain and he needs to be a leader for the team both on and off the pitch.”

Last but certainly not least, Gattuso spoke about the prospect of playing at the newly renamed Stadio Diego Maradona.

“There’ll be emotion and responsibility,” he said. “Diego deserves it all given what he did for this team and this city. It’s a huge honour for me and my players to play for the first time at a stadium officially named after him.”

(Photo Getty Images)