Napoli coach Gennaro Gattuso conceded that playing amid coronavirus regulations was neither easy nor nice after his team held Inter Milan to a 1-1 draw on Saturday to reach the Coppa Italia final in their first match since a three-month stoppage.
“Today, it wasn’t easy after 95 days,” he said after the semi-final second leg, a match played behind closed doors and with strict hygiene regulations.
“Everything has been strange, and both the staff and the players did well to make it happen tonight.”
“Everything has changed, even coming to the stadium is different,” he said.
“Keeping your distance is not easy and it’s not nice. But respect for the thousands of people who have left us, it’s been a devastating thing,” he added referring to Italy’s Covid-19 death toll of almost 35,000.
The famously fiery former midfielder was pleased with his team’s display although he said that Inter’s second minute goal, scored direct from a corner by Christian Eriksen, was “daft.”
“It wasn’t (goalkeeper) David Ospina’s fault, it was an error of positioning by the defence,” he said. “But the team did well, we managed to start up where we left off 95 days ago.”
His opposite number Antonio Conte said his side “deserved much more” over the two legs, which they lost 2-1 on aggregate.
“We created so many chances, we could have been a little more cunning near the goal, but Ospina made amazing saves,” he said.
“I am satisfied. Let’s not forget that Napoli closed up to defend themselves and catch us on the break and it’s never easy in these situations.”
Conte praised the efforts of Eriksen, who joined from Tottenham Hotspur in January.
“I’m very happy with Eriksen, he’s integrating and you can see the results of these weeks of work,” he said.