In-depth with Sarri | Part 2 | On his arrival at Napoli, first impressions, ADL & calciomercato

Here is Part 2 of Sarri’s revealing interview with Paolo Condò of Sky Sports:

On being a representative of coaches that have worked their way up from the lower divisions
I think I’m a representative of everybody that works their way up from the lower leagues. There can be just a subtle difference between a player in Serie A and a player in Serie C, the same for the coaches. There isn’t this huge gap that some may think. You can find good players and coaches there too.

On arriving at Napoli
It was very emotional for me. I was the only Napoli fan in my school when I was younger, probably in the entire local region. So to find myself coaching Napoli was something that moved me, I thought “So this is my destiny.”.

On his first impressions arriving in the dressing room.
Everybody was quiet. It was strange. I asked them “What the hell is going on here? This job should be fun. I don’t like these faces.”. There was this feeling of the group being reserved, almost sad. I’m convinced that when a team has fun, it is far more likely to get results. I wanted a different approach which luckily I eventually found.

On when he noticed the mood had changed
I caught Insigne imitating the way I yell during practice. He does it nearly identical to the way I do. That’s when I started to think maybe things are changing here.

On winning the group over
Coaches are watched and studied by players even if they’ve won everything. I don’t recall any specific moment but after a few months I could feel their respect and willingness to follow even if at that time we were facing some difficult results. When the team continues to follow you despite bad results, it’s a good indication that you are making an impact. We came out of that situation with some big positive results in Europa League and against Lazio but I think the base for the group was formed in that time of difficulty.

On Maradona’s criticism at the start
I figured Maradona didn’t even know who I was so I responded sincerely. I could never argue with Maradona. I remember Napoli had their training not too far from my hometown and going to see it just for him. He’s a legend. Plus, in that moment we were facing bad results so the criticisms were understandable. In the end he’s had nice words to spend on me so that made me happy. I’d love to see him back in the stadium, to see the reaction of the people, but for Maradona to enter into the stadium is a complicated affair.

On De Laurentiis
He’s usually very calm. He’s a president that has sudden moments of anger but for a short amount of time. After a few minutes he returns to normal. In our meetings and phone conversations he’s always calm and contained.

On being satisfied with the transfer market
I never ask him for anything. I’m not a a coach of that type. They’ve managed to get everyone to obsess over the transfer market. There are empty stadiums but everybody talks about the transfer market. I think they’ve lost sight of reality and reality is that you improve through hard work. I’m not the type of coach to ask for this or that. Also because I’m at a club where this isn’t realistic. There are teams in Europe that make lots of money. It’s correct for ADL to concern himself with keeping the club financially safe. It’s my job to make us competitive.

Click here for Part I on his coaching origins and motivations

Or here for Part III on the team, his current players, Higuain, Real Madrid & doing things his way

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