Sarri: Napoli reborn? We never died!
Napoli boss Maurizio Sarri has dismissed the idea that his side enjoyed a rebirth with their win over Udinese, insisting "the team never died".
Two goals from Lorenzo Insigne secured a 2-1 victory on Saturday that ensured Napoli are back to within two points of second-placed Roma in Serie A.
The result brought an end to a run of three games without a win and gave them a timely morale boost ahead of a key Champions League clash with Dynamo Kiev at Stadio San Paolo on Wednesday.
Sarri, however, bristled at the notion that his side required an awakening following a difficult run of form.
"The team never died," he told a news conference. "We didn't play badly in Turin [in the 2-1 loss to Juventus] and we created a lot against Besiktas [in the 1-1 draw] so that shows you that the team never died.
"We suffered some strange mistakes. The boys did well to overcome this period and get back to winning ways.
"I'll underline what I've said before: the team has to work on defence. If we'd conceded three or four goals less, we'd have more points."
Napoli can qualify for the last 16 with a victory on Wednesday, provided that Group B leaders Benfica defeat Besiktas.
Dynamo are bottom of the group with only one point from four games and were beaten by Napoli on home soil, but Sarri does not believe that results have reflected their performances.
"We're facing a team who haven't been lucky in the Champions League and we know it will be difficult. We can only think about our performance," he said.
"They're strong and solid and they've shown that in this group. They often get points away from home. In Lisbon, they lost 1-0 and in Istanbul they missed a penalty which would have earned them a deserved draw. So it won't be easy.
"They have strong youngsters, which will be neither an advantage nor a disadvantage. Players are strong or weak, not young or old."
Manolo Gabbiadini could be in line for a return, according to Sarri, after he returned to team training following a muscle problem.
"He returned to the group [on Monday]," Sarri said of the striker. "We'll see over these last two training sessions [if he can play] because he's coming off two weeks of no activity. From the point of view of his injury, he's over it."