Napoli confirm ‘full confidence’ in under-fire coach Gattuso

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Serie A - Hellas Verona v Napoli

ROME (Reuters) - Napoli have publicly backed coach Gennaro Gattuso after speculation that he could be sacked by the Serie A club following a slump in form.

“President Aurelio De Laurentiis, with vice president Edoardo (De Laurentiis) and CEO Andrea Chiavelli, met the coaching staff tonight to confirm full confidence in the coach Rino Gattuso,” read a club statement on Wednesday.

Gattuso came in for criticism after suffering a 2-0 defeat to Juventus in the Italian Super Cup and a 3-1 loss at home to Hellas Verona in Serie A in the space of four days last week.

The 43-year-old was appointed in December 2019 to replace the sacked Carlo Ancelotti and led Napoli to a Coppa Italia triumph, the club’s first trophy in six years.

But disappointing results since the turn of the year, including a 2-1 loss at home to 10-man Spezia and a draw with struggling Torino, led to media reports that the club were considering other options including former boss Rafael Benitez.

Napoli host Spezia in the Coppa Italia quarter-finals on Thursday and the winner will face Atalanta in the semi-finals.

(Reporting by Alasdair Mackenzie; Editing by Toby Davis)