Napoli manager Carlo Ancelotti has revealed his dissatisfaction with the second half of the season, after his side slumped to a 2-1 defeat at home to Atalanta on Monday night in Serie A.
With Juventus claiming the title, their eighth in a row, in the 2-1 win against Fiorentina on Saturday, the Partenopei were keen to back up their credentials for next season with a win against Gian Piero Gasperini's side, but their failure to do so is indicative of their form since the turn of the year, according to Ancelotti.
Speaking to Sky Sport Italia, as relayed by Football Italia, the tactician proclaimed: “We did very well for an hour, with a high tempo and pressing game, but after their equaliser and we’d wasted so many chances, we fell away both physically and psychologically."
Playmaker Lorenzo Insigne was consigned to the bench after receiving some jeers from home fans against Arsenal in the Europa League, but the Italian was quick to explain: “He played three games in a week, so I preferred to rest him for the next match. Insigne is a valuable member of the squad and we are waiting for him to rediscover his usual levels.
“Considering Atalanta are very good in one-on-one situations, we tried to move Callejon more central and Mertens into a wider role, so we’d spread their defenders and midfielders.”
Widening his scope, the 59-year-old urged: "We’ve lost something in the second half of the season. I don’t know if it’s because we lost players, but more that we lost motivation and spirit.
There were some big moments in the Premier League this weekend, which was your favourite?https://t.co/tqaszedNMV— 90min (@90min_Football) April 22, 2019
“All we can do now is focus on securing second place and preparing for next season. The first half of our season was excellent and I am disappointed at the second half, because this is a team that can and should do better. Once motivation goes, you go a bit slower to close down a cross or meet an assist. Football is an issue of moments and those seconds can make a huge difference.
“There will be a few adjustments on the transfer market, but there are new players in my first season, there will be more newcomers, although the basic structure of the squad will remain the same.”