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It's difficult when you live football like me Gattuso hails 'great win' as Napoli celebrate Coppa triumph

5 months ago
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Gennaro Gattuso and Napoli are rapidly shaping into an emerging force in Italian football, and the coach savoured Coppa Italia victory.

Gennaro Gattuso and Napoli have only been together for six months but the tight bond between coach and club was illustrated by Wednesday's Coppa Italia triumph.

Napoli lifted precious silverware with a 4-2 penalty shoot-out triumph over Juventus, following a largely drab goalless draw in Rome.

Gattuso, whose sister Francesca died after a cancer battle earlier this month, was supported through that trauma by Napoli, and his response to success at the Stadio Olimpico was naturally highly emotional.

Appointed last December, the former Milan head coach already looks a strong fit for Napoli, and Gattuso felt he was kicking every ball as the Naples outfit landed their third Coppa success in nine years.

"A great win," Gattuso said. "I am 42 years old, this is my fourth final as a coach, I played 15 when I played, so it's 19 in my career.

"When you start, coaching is completely different. I feel many responsibilities on my shoulders. Sometimes I act like I am the chairman, or the doctor, or the storekeeper, and it's difficult when you live football like me.

"But it's the only way I know. That's why I feel this trophy as I played it by myself. Because I know where we started and how I pushed my players and the people working for the club. We deserved it."

The achievement came at the expense of Maurizio Sarri, the Juventus boss who previously led Napoli with distinction from 2015 to 2018, albeit without laying his hands on a trophy.

Questions will inevitably be asked of Sarri's ability to get the best out of his highly talented squad, but there are few doubts over Gattuso drawing every last drop of sweat from Napoli's players.

Now it remains to be seen who stays with Napoli for the next campaign. 

Dries Mertens has committed himself by signing a new contract, and Gattuso expects support from owner Aurelio De Laurentiis during the transfer window as he shapes the team's future.

"We don't need to operate so much on the market," Gattuso said. "We have to see who's going to leave us.

"Our chairman knows it, we speak every week about it. This is a strong team, but I think that 70-80 per cent of the players will stay with us.

"We will do few [transfers]. I am sure the team has great qualities."

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