CM EXCLUSIVE Prandelli: "Good for Insigne to be angry"
Napoli are undoubtedly the team of the moment. Five victories in a row have shoved the Partenopei into the limelight, though Maurizio Sarri has correctly done his best to keep the team’s profile as low as possible, so as to avoid exciting a fan base that tends to veer between extremes.
This team is gradually becoming more aware of its own strength, not to mention its familiarity with new coach Sarri’s ideas and formations.
Napoli are aiming to play a primary role this year, and the way the former Empoli coach is handling his squad is definitely helping. If anything, it could well be the Azzurri’s strongest suit.
Democratic when it comes to team selection, Sarri is strict enough to keep everyone in line, to the point where he’s even angered a few of them to get the best out of them.
Speaking of which, even I was shocked by Lorenzo Insigne’s reactio to his substitution during the Palermo game. It was difficult to understand, seeing the brilliant purple patch he’s going through, and the amount of praise he’s been getting.
Still, Sarri has proved that he has a handle on the situation, and has, in my opinion, given all the right answers: it’s better to have players who are angry at being subbed off, rather than those who don’t react at all.
The Napoli squad needs to understand that its coach is working on a system that is rewarding some and penalising others, something that happens everywhere. It’s happening to Manolo Gabbiadini, too, a player with enormous talent who is growing up in a hurry, but whom Sarri only sees as an alternative to Higuain up front.
He could play on the wing instead of Callejon (as he did last season), but he risks wasting too much energy and paying for it when he’s in front of goal.
Speaking of Higuain, there is little doubt that he is the Partenopei’s current leader, both from a technical and a charismatic perspective. He is the best centre-forward around, along with Bayern Munich’s Lewandowski.
Beyond his immense skills, the Argentinian centre-forward has shown that he can give his team-mates a psychological boost. Not so long ago, he cut a frustrated figure on the pitch, something that could have irritated some.
Comparisons with Diego Maradona are, however, wasted. They’re two great champions, but Diego is in a category of his own. His charisma… he was essentially a man of the people.
If Napoli are missing something, it’s a great central defender, someone with experience who can help Kalidou Koulibaly keep improving, and in a hurry, too. He has immense potential and he’s already grown a lot under Sarri, but if he can keep developing his timing and his anticipation, he could become a great player.