Sarri updates on injured players and more in pre-Milan presser

Maurizio Sarri assessed the status and the performances of few of his players in the press conference before the clash with Milan: “They are a good team that did not start off well, but this matters relatively in a single game. We have to play with a different intensity in the back compared to the game in Moscow and in order to do that we have to take the field in slightly different manner.”

On Cristiano Ronaldo: “I still do not know because he was with the medical staff yesterday. We will see later today and then tomorrow morning. He is not dealing with anything serious, just some pain in his knee that causes him some troubles during the games.”

On Matthijs De Ligt: “We still have two practices to go, we will see how he will react tomorrow, he had some positive tests yesterday, he will try out his ankle on the pitch today.”

Again on Milan: “They are rebuilding and that comes with some problems. There are cycles in football, it is a diffiicult process for everybody. They have good players and some youngsters with a bright future. They are laying the foundations pretty well, but I do not know how much it will take them to be back among the elites.”

On Aaron Ramsey: “He has important skills, he can give us a lot in two roles. The modern no.10 is a midfielder, he can do that, but also play as box-to-box, even though he would be pretty offensive there, while he helps our balance as no.10.”

On Leonardo Bonucci: “If I thought we could play without him, I would have rested him from time to time. We need his experience, charisma and defensive organization right now, so we are asking him for a huge sacrifice. I hope I will be able to give him some matches off in the future, but he has been decisive for us so far.”

On some room for improvement: “First of all, some individual players can get better. If three of four do, then the level of the squad will raise. We can ameliorate tactically, as we left some spaces and made some positional mistake in the most recent contest.”

On Douglas Costa: “He can slide to the wing also when he is used as no.10, he did that pretty well in Russia when he saw he was being bottled up centrally. It is among the tasks of a trequartista. We need balance right now, we can not afford a purely offensive player there. I think that the tactical contribution by Federico Bernardeschi has been underestimated.”

On Gonzalo Higuain: “I think Milan will be more bitter towards him than the other way around. He needs to be motivated to perform. He is fine physically and mentally now, he is giving us a lot, especially playmaking-wise. I think he can socre more.”

On the pre-game retreat: “We will not do that since it is a night game. When you play a lot, you try to save some mental energies avoiding that. It is not mandatory, but often the players are here anyway.”

On the tight results so far: “It is a strength but also a limitation. We have not been able to crush the opponents as the numbers would justify, but we have been able to pursue and find victories until the final minutes. We have a strong character, but some limits in terms of attitude.”

On the situation in Naples: “It is their problem, I am 700 kms away, which does not allow me to understand much. They have quality people like Carlo Ancelotti and Cristiano Giuntoli that will figure it out.”

On Adrien Rabiot: “I think that in the future he might be more of a pivot than a trequartista. I did not want to confuse him since he is still settling in. I wanted him to specialize in one position, then we will see down the line.”

On Napoli and Inter’s problems: “Every issue can have either a positive or a negative impact. Sometimes a healthy discussion or a situation that needs to be addressed can cement the team. The outside perception is not always correct. I find it excessive to say that Inter have some problems, they in good form.”

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