When asked about his Napoli future after his team was defeated 3-1 by Atalanta in their Coppa Italia semi-final, Gennaro Gattuso came out in bullish fashion.
As Atalanta secured a spot in the Coppa final for the second time in three seasons, Duvan Zapata was instrumental, with the striker scoring a thunderous opener before teeing up Matteo Pessina from the side of Gian Piero Gasperini in a blistering first-half display.
Early in the second half, Hirving Lozano’s goal had given Napoli a glimmer of hope, but Zapata and Pessina combined again with a 3-1 aggregate win to secure Atalanta’s advancement into a final against Juventus.
Reports have emerged over recent weeks, with Napoli sitting in sixth in Serie A, having lost seven games, claiming that Gattuso, who joined last season, is struggling to save his job.
In their next outing on Saturday, Napoli faced Juve and, asked whether that match would prove to make or break his stay, Gattuso insisted it was the hierarchy of the club who had to answer that question.
“I don’t know, you have to ask the club,” he said. I am the captain of the ship, and when things go wrong, they are at the captain’s expense.
I can’t think of it as a penultimate or last resort, I have to work and I have to be able to have faith.
“I’m a coach, it’s like that. I won’t be the first, nor the last, but I must try until the end.”
Napoli allowed 19 attempts at their goal without first-choice center-backs Kostas Manolas and Kalidou Koulibaly, with Atalanta landing seven on target.
Atalanta were worthy winners, and there was only one disappointment for Gasperini.
“It’s a great satisfaction, “It is a great satisfaction. “We are dedicating this to the fans.
Regret is not living these moments with them, but it is a sign of continuity to hit the end. They’re at the top of this squad.
Later, we’ll think about the final. It’s already a huge achievement for us. Then we’re going to play against an extraordinary side like Juventus.