Napoli coach Maurizio Sarri was complimentary of RB Leipzig on the eve of the sides’ clash in the Europa League, but made it known that the Serie A title race is the bigger priority for the club right now.
The Partenopei take on their German opponents at the Stadio San Paolo on Thursday, and a crowd of less than 10,000 are expected to attend after just 6000 tickets were sold.
The lack of interest is supposedly a reflection of Sarri’s own team, and the manager has admitted he is struggling to motivate them for Europe because of the strong position they find themselves in in the domestic title race.
He said, as quoted by Gazzetta dello Sport: “Before becoming big in Europe, you have to be in Italy. If we want to make a qualitative leap in terms of mentality we must find the motivations necessary to face this match.
“I was impressed to see the speed and quality of Leipzig, it was fun to watch their performance.Who I like in Leipzig? Bruma skips man with ease, Werner is fearful.
“Leipzig is an exciting team, but our objective is the Scudetto… International matches are always fascinating, but Europa league is near madness because we finish our game 60 hours before our game with SPAL this weekend.”
Sarri is wary that the Europa League could impact their momentum in Serie A, just as the Champions League did before they were eliminated at the end of the group stage.
(You may also be interested in Leipzig Boss Ralph Hasenhuttl Expects an Intense Match Against ‘Exciting’ Napoli).
Napoli are only a single point ahead of Juventus in the race for the Serie A league title after 24 games, and there could be quite a large bearing on the outcome whoever stays in their respective European competition the longest.