Maurizio Sarri, the Napoli coach, has said that his side are more motivated in Serie A than in the Champions League following their draw with Inter Milan on Saturday.
Napoli had the better chances to find a winner and the draw brought their 100% record for this season to an end. It was also the first game they failed to win in the league since April. While Napoli are still unbeaten in Serie A, they have suffered two defeats in Europe this season, to Shakhtar Donetsk and last week to Manchester City.
According to Sarri the players are subconsciously prioritising their domestic games.
— Official SSC Napoli (@sscnapoli) October 22, 2017
“To be honest, I see my team more motivated in Serie A compared to Europe,” he told Mediaset Premium. “We played at a high level of determination for 95 minutes, whereas in Manchester it was for 55 minutes.”
He went on to say that the team “ought to give” their best in the Champions League and said, “I think it’s a subconscious thing. If in our minds we feel more competitive in Serie A than in the Champions League, that might be a difficult thing to shake off. After all, we don’t have that much of a chance to go all the way in Europe, but we do want to put in a great tournament performance.”
Despite the draw, Sarri thinks that the team are strong title contenders this season, “Considering the game, the shots on target and territorial domination, we are to consider it two dropped points tonight,” he said. “However, if we continue with this level of performance, few teams will be able to get points against us.”
He also praised Inter Milan’s goalkeeper Samir Handanovic calling him an “extraordinary” keeper and “one of the best in Europe”.