Impassioned Gattuso hails spirit of players after Juve win

football13 February 2021 21:26| © Reuters
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Gennaro Gattuso © Getty Images

Napoli boss Gennaro Gattuso said he never doubted his players were behind him in an impassioned response to his side's battling 1-0 win over Juventus in Serie A on Saturday.

The 43-year-old led Napoli to a Coppa Italia triumph last season, the club's first trophy in six years.

Yet recent disappointing results, including a 2-1 loss at home to 10-man Spezia and last week's defeat to Genoa, has intensified speculation that the club will look to replace the fiery Italian.

There were, however, jubilant scenes upon the final whistle at the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium on Saturday as all the players sought out Gattuso to celebrate Napoli's victory that moves them to within two points of the champions in third.

"Many things have been said, but I like to be judged for what I do," a fired-up Gattuso told Sky Sport Italia.

"You can think I’m a bad coach, fine, whatever, but I am prepared to chase you down and shout under your window one by one if it's a lie.

"I never had doubts with this squad, otherwise I would've picked up my things and gone home. You can't get anywhere without the faith of the players. They were committed and not afraid, I have seen great spirit today."

The goal that earned Napoli a second consecutive league win over Juventus for the first time since 2011 came from the penalty spot, with Lorenzo Insigne's 100th goal in all competitions for Gattuso's side proving the difference.

Juventus coach Andrea Pirlo was not happy with the decision, but was pleased with his team's display despite slipping to a first defeat in eight in all competitions.

"If you give penalties like this, you would have to give three or four each game according to what my players told me," Pirlo said.

"We are angry because we did not deserve to lose this match. The performance was good and we remain confident. It is a shame to have left with no points."