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HomeChampions LeagueCalzona: Napoli were confused but went on par with Barcelona

Calzona: Napoli were confused but went on par with Barcelona

Francesco Calzona acknowledges that some “tactical confusion” was inevitable at Napoli given the circumstances but praises their “reaction” to Barcelona’s strong start, emphasizing its importance.

For Napoli boss Francesco Calzona, it has been a whirlwind few days, as he was appointed as the coach to replace Walter Mazzarri on Monday evening, leaving him with just two training sessions to prepare for this Champions League Round of 16 tie.

“We have a lot of work to do, but I congratulated the team for rediscovering the desire to fight,” Calzona told Amazon Prime Video Italia.

“It was a very good second half, but on a tactical level we need progress. I put out some players who were not in the best shape, we allowed Barcelona to change the lines and cross the field, which you cannot do with a team like this.

“However, at the end we tried to win it and that is an important sign. I really liked the spirit of the side.”

Calzona: Napoli squad gave their heart against Barcelona

In the first half, Alex Meret kept Napoli in the game with saves against Lamine Yamal, Robert Lewandowski, and Ilkay Gundogan. However, after Robert Lewandowski capitalized on a Pedri through ball, Victor Osimhen responded with an assist from Andre Frank Zambo Anguissa, turning Inigo Martinez’s efforts.

“The players gave their heart and soul to avoid defeat against a very strong opponent,” continued Calzona.

“Considering our tactical problems, we struggled at the start, but I can understand there is some confusion after only one and a half days of working together.

“Those who came off the bench provided more energy and organisation, doing very well.”

Calzona demonstrated assertiveness by substituting Kvicha Kvaratskhelia for Jesper Lindstrom and then replacing Osimhen immediately after the goal.

“We suffered a great deal in the first half-hour, then the team reacted. It was a disorganised reaction, but still a reaction. That is fundamental, fighting to the end against a team of this quality leaves me satisfied.”

Ethan Dempsey
Ethan Dempsey
Ethan is a lifelong football fan. When he is not obsessing over the Premier League games, Ethan likes to read fantasy tomes, watch football documentaries and waste hours upon hours on video games.
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