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Barcelona forced us to defend but they barely grazed Napoli, proclaims Gennaro Gattuso

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Barcelona forced us to defend but they barely grazed Napoli, proclaims Gennaro Gattuso

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SportsCafe Desk

02/26/2020

Napoli boss Gennaro Gattuso insisted that Barcelona struggled to play against his side despite the game ending on level terms. The hosts opened the scoring via Dries Mertens’ record-equalling strike before Antoine Griezmann levelled the game with only the Blaugrana’s second and final shot on target.

The Partenopei were disciplined and compact in defence which caused Barcelona serious problems and it saw Lionel Messi and co struggle to make an impact. The Argentine himself looked bewildered at times when up against the side that Gattuso sent out with him eventually finding a way to make something happen in the second half. But the lone move proved to be the La Liga giant’s best attack before Antoine Griezmann levelled the game late in the second half.

It saw many praise Gattuso for his tactical ingenuity against Barcelona’s star-studded attack but the Italian went opined that the Catalans failed to scare Napoli at the Stadio San Paulo. He also admitted that while Barcelona forced Napoli to defend deep at home, the Catalan side only managed to score because his side made one rare defensive error that the La Liga giants capitalized on. 

"Since [Barca coach Quique] Setien arrived, they systematically push five or six players into attack, they don't just pass and that's it. They force you to defend deep and we had to play like that, because if there were spaces back there, they could really hurt us. I think they barely grazed us tonight, they hardly had a single shot on goal. They could've been there all night and not scored, but we conceded after one single error. They didn't hurt us, it barely tickled," Gattuso told Sky Sport Italia.

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