Naples, 14 December 2019 – Here was how Roberto D’Aversa looked back on the 1-2 win over Napoli in the post-match press conference.

“Certainly, the disappointing thing was not taking chances in the first half and that we didn’t do more to make the most of Napoli’s early difficulties. As time went on, we let them gain confidence and when a side like Napoli gets energy, they start to control the play and cause problems for you. This coincided with us taking off a centre-forward so the team dropped off but the guys did well to hang in and to bring home the result. The main disappointment was the first half when we didn’t take more of our chances.” 

“It’s not just about spirit, we showed quality in the first half and let’s not forget that we came to play a side that was built to compete for the Scudetto so we need to take that into account and give credit to the guys. It’s been a really difficult time with players like Inglese out, Cornelius had to go off, Grassi’s still not at 100 per cent, Kucka and Scozzarella were at home and these guys are doing something extraordinary. Credit to them for what they’ve been doing since the start of pre-season. At Napoli, they changed the coach and that often brings enthusiasm and they’ve been struggling in the league but our guys did well to put in a big performance.

Kulusevski? For me, it’s really simple. The lad is staying here and all these other issues don’t depend on me. He’s on loan but as I’ve said already, it’s for his own good to finish the season with Parma so he can keep developing. We can’t forget that last year he was playing Primavera football and came on three times for Atalanta in first-team football. Credit to the Club for giving him the chance to show what he could do. It’s sad that the fans couldn’t be here because I can’t remember when Parma last won at Napoli, it’s a sad story and I spoke about it yesterday. They’ve always been close to the team and it’s sad that they missed a great game.

“On the problems at Napoli, I’ll leave it to Rino who is more experienced and much better than me and I don’t like to get involved with other people’s business. I already have my own problems. In terms of our aim, I believe that the intensity we’ve applied in training has led to us earning 24 points at this stage. We need to do well and always show that attitude and believe in our own abilities. Results lead you to be more confident and positive. Our aim is to stick to our DNA and approach matches in a way that allows us to meet our goals. We’ haven’t just one objective and it’s always the next match. Up to last night, we were thinking of winning here and now from tomorrow, we’ll think about a really important game against Brescia who have got two consecutive results and it’s a direct match-up for us. Despite his age, Dejan has been doing an impressive job from the first day of pre-season and he has quality. He can improve further to be even more of a difference-maker. When he improves even further, I think he’ll be ready to play for a big club.

“In defence, we prepared for the game to sit back on our left and press on the right considering the characteristics of our players and we had some problems in reading when to press and push our playmakers on when Cornelius who was doing it originally and then Kulusevski weren’t setting the press. This meant we moved the ball around more than we planned to and there was reduced aggression which allowed us to create chances in the first half and at other points in the match.”