Naples, April 19: Maurizio Sarri is determined for Napoli not to bow to the pressure of a reopened Scudetto race as he seeks to take the game to Juventus in Sunday's crunch clash in Turin.
Napoli – second in the Serie A standings – closed the gap back to four points on Wednesday (April 18) with a battling 4-2 win over a stubborn Udinese, capitalising on the leaders' simultaneous 1-1 draw at Crotone midweek.
Sarri's side were in danger of spurning the opportunity as they twice trailed at Stadio San Paolo, Lorenzo Insigne's goal in first-half stoppage time sandwiched between strikes from Jakub Jankto and Svante Ingelsson.
But an 11-minute burst from Raul Albiol, Arkadiusz Milik and Lorenzo Tonelli secured a result that gives Napoli the chance to close to within a point at Allianz Stadium.
"Our team always tries to take the initiative and play our football, regardless of venue, opponent or situation. That is our philosophy," head coach Sarri told Mediaset Premium.
"Clearly, it's difficult to go to Turin and try to get the victory, as in terms of strength in depth, I think Juventus are the most complete team in Europe. We'll give it our best shot."
28 - Napoli have gained the most points from trailing situations in this Serie A campaign (28). Alive.— OptaPaolo (@OptaPaolo) April 18, 2018
Sarri added: "We had a very good initial approach and 25 minutes at a very high level, then 10 minutes of nothingness. After the restart, there was another blackout for 10 minutes, but towards the end we hit extraordinary heights. "It's disappointing that we allowed those two goals, but I am happy because I saw the team playing with real sharpness again."
Napoli star Dries Mertens was rested by Sarri as Milik was named in the line-up – the Polish forward starting his first match since returning from a knee injury.
Milik put Napoli ahead with 20 minutes remaining before Tonelli sealed the three points five minutes later in Naples.
"In principle, we develop service the same way for him and Mertens, though naturally Arek is stronger in the air, so there are more floated crosses. If there's Mertens, we try to enter the box with quick one-two passes, but the movement doesn't change that much," Sarri said.
"Lately we've been very solid defensively, but had some moments of real passivity today. It's better that they happened tonight rather than on Sunday. I hope it was a one-off, as the team knows full well how fundamental the defensive movements are in the next game.
"There are five rounds left, so saying it all depends on the match in Turin is reductive. It's a difficult fixture, just as it would be travelling to Paris or Manchester."