Maurizio Sarri understands why Gian Piero Ventura opted to ignore the claims of his forward Lorenzo Insigne as Italy missed out on World Cup qualification by losing their play-off against Sweden.
In a 2-1 home win against AC Milan on Saturday, Insigne looked in the mood to show Ventura - dismissed after Italy missed out on a World Cup place for the first time in 60 years - he was wrong to be left as an unused substitute in the second leg.
The forward raced on to a lofted throughball from fellow Italy international Jorginho to open the scoring and set up a victory that sent Napoli four points clear at the top of Serie A.
But Sarri said Ventura's system did not have an obvious place for wide forward Insigne, who had been used in central midfield when he came off the bench in Italy's decisive 1-0 first leg loss at the Friends Arena.
"I would not leave Insigne out, but each coach is the result of his experiences and Ventura always played with two up front," Sarri told Mediaset Premium after Napoli strengthened their Scudetto claims.
"I did not like the way the media tore Ventura apart, because when there is a loss like that, the blame is to be shared around, never just apportioned to one man."
Insigne, for his part, insisted he did not resent Ventura for leaving him on the sidelines after scoring his fifth goal in his last five appearances against Milan.
"I don't like to cause controversy," Insigne told Mediaset Premium. "He considered those [substitutes] to be the right men to reach the World Cup and I accept the decisions of the coach.
"I am sad because Italy are not going to the World Cup, not because I didn't play."
Sarri's success at Napoli has inevitably led to rumours he could be a possible successor to Ventura.
But the 58-year-old followed Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri and Inter's Luciano Spalletti in rejecting speculation linking him with the post, while accepting Napoli were not at their best against Milan.
"At the moment I am enjoying training these players and working every day on the field," Sarri added. "We're doing well and hope to achieve something at the end of it.
"It wasn't our sharpest performance, yet looking overall we allowed hardly anything and created eight clear scoring opportunities, so that's good in the circumstances.
"Our tempo dropped in the second half and we sat too deep, but despite that, we didn't allow many real chances. Almost everyone was off on international duty, so our fitness levels could not have been perfect.
"I am sorry we conceded a goal in stoppage time from distance, because it would have been nice to keep a clean sheet."
16 de julio 2018
|MLS Review: LAFC, Atlanta held at home|
|Stones will watch re-runs of England´s World Cup matches|
|Ferdinand challenges Mourinho to unleash Pogba at United|
|Mbappe: I´m staying at PSG|
|Former NHL goalie Ray Emery found dead|
|Pirates secure five-game sweep of Brewers with walk-off win|
|WATCH: LeBron receives standing ovation at Lakers´ summer league game|
|Tony Romo wins celebrity-filled American Century Championship|
|McGregor praises Putin after attending World Cup final|
|Open-bound Kim claims maiden title with eight-shot triumph|
|Eagles running back Sproles plans to retire after next season|
|World Cup winner Rami retires from international football|
15 de julio 2018
|Wimbledon champion Djokovic did not expect grand slam glory so soon|
|Ibrahimovic praises Pogba after World Cup final display|
|Wimbledon diary: Avengers too late for an Infinity War as Djokovic triumphs|
|Deschamp-agne – France´s 2018 vintage interrupt news conference to drench coach|
|I may have to dust my boots off! - Pele threatened by Mbappe exploits|
|WATCH: Mendy and Pogba dab with president Macron after World Cup win|
|Woods embracing ´different´ Carnoustie challenge ahead of Open return|
|Argentina dismiss Sampaoli after chaotic World Cup|
|France celebrates World Cup triumph|
|Djokovic made ´improvised Wimbledon trophies´ as a boy|
|Stone goes agonisingly close to 59 as Pepperell & Dantorp also make Open|
|Outcast Benzema delights in France win|
|Final a triumph in itself given Croatia´s off-field turmoil|
|Anderson laments Wimbledon final nerves|
|Deschamps joins elite club, Mbappe second to Pele - the best stats from the World Cup final|
|Belgium´s Courtois wins World Cup Golden Glove|
|Collarbone fracture confirmed for ´devastated´ Porte|
|World Cup final player ratings: Griezmann, Mbappe inspire France as Croatia fall short|
|World Cup winner Giroud ends tournament without shot on target|
|Modric wins World Cup Golden Ball|
|Mbappe wins World Cup Young Player award|
|Deschamps redeemed as France win World Cup final for the ages|
|France 4 Croatia 2: Twitter Report|
|Tomlin optimistic over Bell contract|
|Kane wins World Cup Golden Boot|
|Ajax keen on Blind deal - Van der Sar|
|France 4 Croatia 2: Pogba and Mbappe seal thrilling World Cup triumph|
|Anderson would have played another 21 hours to reach Wimbledon final|
|Djokovic delighted to crown ´comeback´ with Wimbledon glory|
|World Cup final interrupted by pitch invaders - Pussy Riot claim responsibility|
|Djokovic´s grass-court U-turn pays ultimate dividends with Wimbledon title|
|Mandzukic makes World Cup history with early own goal|
|Dominant Djokovic beats Anderson to regain Wimbledon title|
|Everybody said I´m done - Degenkolb revels in first Tour victory|
|´Big party´ for Marquez after Sachsenring success|
|Hazard enjoys Belgium´s welcome home|
|Ex-AC Milan president Berlusconi conflicted over Ronaldo to Juventus|
|Spain did not contact Martinez over head coach vacancy|
|Maybe the VAR was watching The Simpsons! - RSL coach Petke slams MLS officials|
|Cubs´ Darvish hopes to return by next weekend|
|France and Croatia name unchanged sides for World Cup final|
|Marquez maintains Sachsenring dominance|
|Courtois claims World Cup has boosted his value|
|Buffon beaten on difficult PSG debut|
|Vince called up for Headingley decider|
|Farah inspires Tigers win over Dragons, Warriors and Roosters triumph|
|Crash forces Porte out of Tour for second year running|
|Ronaldo considered Napoli move, says De Laurentiis|
|Mafi arrested for allegedly assaulting Rebels team-mate|
|Everybody is welcome - Croatia pitch for neutral support in World Cup final|
|West Ham seal club-record swoop for Felipe Anderson|
|Rooney applauds England for capturing fans´ imagination|
|Krajicek urges Anderson to go for broke in Wimbledon final|
|Wimbledon 2018: Djokovic v Anderson in Opta numbers|
|Kohli defends Dhoni after Lord´s boos|
|Wimbledon finalist Djokovic can win the next six majors, claims Krajicek|
|We´re ´blessed´ to watch Mbappe, says Kaka|
|Bogaerts hits walk-off grand slam to deliver Red Sox win over Blue Jays|