Gennaro Gattuso has been thrust into the hot-seat at Napoli in recent weeks, with reports suggesting his future is in doubt in southern Italy. While Aurelio De Laurentiis publicly denied all rumors and backed Gattuso, the former Milan tactician is still under pressure. Napoli slumped to back-to-back defeats against Juventus and Hellas Verona, adding further fuel to reports about Gattuso’s sacking.
Massimiliano Allegri and Rafa Benitez have since been touted as potential replacements but as De Laurentiis has highlighted, Gattuso will be given a shot to turn it around. The World Cup winner demonstrated his ability to rescue a sinking ship last season after inheriting a struggling Napoli side from Carlo Ancelotti. Gattuso instantly offered the Partenopei stability and led them to a Coppa Italia triumph.
While this season’s struggles are worrying, Napoli’s upcoming run of games will, in many ways, define Gattuso’s future. The Partenopei have since bounced back with consecutive wins against Spezia and Parma and will now shift their attention to Atalanta in the Coppa Italia semifinals. A game against Genoa is sandwiched between their intriguing two-legged tie with Gasperini’s side, offering them a chance to build momentum.
Napoli will then take on Juventus on February 13 before taking on Granada in the Europa League Round of 32. Gattuso’s side also takes on Atalanta, once more, but this time in league action. Make no mistake about it – February is the most important month in Gattuso’s tenure.
Should the former Milan boss steer them into the next round of the Coppa Italia and the Europa League, he will earn himself some temporary respite in the Napoli hot-seat. Clashes against Juventus and Atalanta will not be easy, but Napoli possesses the firepower and talent to get the job done.
Hirving Lozano is firing from all cylinders in his second season, while Victor Osimhen is expected to make his return to action this month. The Nigerian international has battled injuries all season and will be eager to put them behind him ahead of an important stretch. Andrea Petagna has deputized for the former Lille man in his absence and has largely done a good job. However, as the important games pile up, Gattuso will want his record signing at his disposal.
Gattuso has earned himself the opportunity to lead Napoli out of this tough time and oversee the Partenopei into a difficult month of February. While Gattuso is in De Laurentiis’ good graces for the time being, he cannot afford to get too comfortable. Elimination from the Europa League and Coppa Italia could just seal his fate come summertime. Gattuso will take solace in the fact that his side remains in contention on all three fronts and are right in the mix for top four ahead of the second half of the season.
Gattuso has demonstrated he is capable of turning it around before and will need much of the same heading into February. As reports surrounding his potential replacement intensify, the pressure is on Gattuso. Whether he can deliver the goods again remains to be seen – but as February rolls around – De Laurentiis will soon find out.
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