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Published on: 24 February 2021

Gennaro Gattuso is adamant Napoli can overturn their first-leg defeat to Granada despite the difficulties and reach the next round of the Europa League.

Speaking ahead of Thursday's return leg at the Stadio Maradona, the boss said: “"We'll go out there to win it, then we'll see what happens. We're obviously missing lots of players but we mustn't use that as an excuse. We'll do our very best.”

How's the injury situation? Will Dries Mertens be involved?

“We won't have [Victor] Osimhen for this one and [Diego] Demme and [Elseid] Hysaj aren't ready yet. Dries has trained on his own and he'll be on the bench tomorrow because he hasn't played for a long time. We'll see if he might be able to play some part tomorrow.”

Will Matteo Politano play as centre forward?

“I don't know who will play yet and I don't want to give our opponents any advantage. Politano is an option and so is [Eljif] Elmas. We'll see tomorrow.”

How do you expect Granada to play?

“We know what they're good at. Unfortunately in the first leg we were caught out by their pace. We need to do better tomorrow, both technically and mentally. I expect us to show a completely different mentality to the first leg.

“Granada are a good team and they're not easy to beat but we'll do everything we can to get the better of them. We'll go out there to win without using our selection problems as an excuse. As I've always said, the buck stops with me and I say we have to try.”

How are the players doing fitness-wise?

"We haven't had a normal week's training for three months. I said a long time ago that playing games every three days we needed more players to be able to rotate. Now we're in high water but that's not an excuse – it's reality. We have to thank the players who are playing through gritted teeth and playing game after game.”

What do you have to say to the fans?

"One of our goals is to go as far as we can in Europe. To the fans I say we all have to take responsibility and that starts with me. We're not doing well at the moment for various reasons. We have lots of injuries and it's a tough spell for us, but we have to try and do our talking on the pitch. The criticism is deserved. We just have to respond to it on the pitch.

“We must make sure we don't afford Granada space to play in and try to impose our game. It's going to be difficult to turn the tie around but we must believe we can do it. The lads all seem determined to bounce back.”

(Photo Getty Images)


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