Rudi Garcia: ‘We’re still not at our best’


Napoli coach Rudi Garcia believes it was a ‘positive’ evenings performance against Sassuolo, but his team are still not at their best yet. The Partenopei took an early lead through Victor Osimhen before the Neroverdi were reduced to 10-men. Captain Giovanni Di Lorenzo added a second to secure the result and put the team back to the top of the table after two rounds.

Speaking in his post-match press conference, Garcia pointed to the warm weather and his players conditioning for why they didn’t kill the match off sooner, but suggested they are carefully managing the players returns after a long summer break:

How much more can the team grow?

“The evening is positive, the goal was to win but we are still not at our best physically. Some players, like Kvara, we had to manage them. It was the first full match for Anguissa, then it was very hot. We managed this match well even in 11 against 11. It’s a pity for my protégé Maxime Lopez for being sent off. He seems to speak Italian well now (laughs, ed.). The bad thing is that we don’t get in front of goal as much, only 20 per cent. A bit of bad luck for Giacomo with the post at the start.”

An adjective for Di Lorenzo?

“Joking with Rai I said to myself that maybe the captain wants to play striker. He really is a very important player for us. On the right side he does great things, he can defend well and attack with quality. I’m happy for him, because he deserves it.”

Did you congratulate the team in midfield after the 90th minute?

“I wanted to be on the pitch with my players, because fans were fantastic. Since we don’t have to train tomorrow, I didn’t want them to go into the dressing room early to let them still work on the pitch.”

Thoughts on Gabri Veiga’s choice (to go to Saudi Arabia, ed.)?

“I’m talking about my players and not those of others.”

Olivera still starting?

“I’m lucky to have two great left-backs. Mario Rui was injured during the preparation and it is therefore normal to start Olivera. Mario got minutes in Frosinone, he will have his moment. They are two excellent players who are similar in some aspects and different in others, I will need them both.”

On Anguissa?

“I know him well, he started with me at Marseille. He was young, he has grown a lot. He is also an important leader for the team. I’m happy to have him with me again. Now he can take a lot of responsibility on and off the pitch.”

On the Osimhen-Simeon cohabitation. On Natan:

“He has to learn the language, Italian and Napoli football. We’ll make him grow a lot, he’s an important acquisition for us. He’s loosening up, he’s less shy than at the start. Cholito and Victor, tonight it was possible to play them together because we were with the extra man, it will be possible to do it again when we have to score goals to win a game. It’s a pity Giovanni couldn’t score a goal.”

On Raspadori and Osimhen:

“Victor scored a goal and made an outstanding gesture by giving the penalty to Raspa. I like Giacomo, he can do many roles, he defends, runs and helps the team. Apart from a bit of bad luck and the post, I am happy with his game. Missing a penalty happens to the greatest in football.”


Serie A obsessive.