The coach gives his thoughts on the 1-1 draw at the San Paolo.

(IN THE PHOTO: the coach watches on)

MILAN – This is what was said by the coach, players and Galliani in the wake of the 1-1 draw at the San Paolo on Monday night.

SINISA MIHAJLOVIC (press conference)
“We knew that we were going to be in for a difficult game tonight, but we came here wanting to come away with a positive result. From their previous 12 matches at home this season, Napoli have won 10 and drawn 2. They have proved themselves to be the strongest team in the league, alongside Juventus. We gave a great defensive performance tonight. We didn’t perform as well in attack, but Napoli also deserve credit for that. I think a draw is the right result. From the first seven matches of the season, we collected just 9 points. From the same number of matches in the second half of the campaign, we have already collected 15. We have improved in terms of our performances and results. We are a different side and one that is hard to beat and that is playing well. Tonight, we did well to close down the spaces, it is no easy task trying to stop Napoli’s attack, but we did very well at the back. I’m not just referring to our four defenders, but also our midfield and attack. Only by giving everything you have, can you come away with a result at the San Paolo. Balotelli still needs to improve on his match-fitness. He is training well and I hope that the other players who are still lacking in match fitness, such as Menez and Boateng, can get back in top-shape soon because they can be decisive for us. By giving them playing time, they will get back in top-shape. They are important players. Montolivo made a few more mistakes than usual, but if you come away with a positive result from Naples, it means the whole team has played well. With the old formation, we struggled to defend and attack. Since changing the formation, we have lost just twice from 12 games.”

“Tonight was a real thrill. The atmosphere was incredible, but we did well not to be intimidated by it all. We all played a great game tonight and we have come away with an important point. Insigne’s shot took a deflection and it went past me and into the bottom corner. Tomorrow, I will talk to the coach and see if I could have done better. Napoli were desperate to win tonight to go back to the top of the table, but we played well. We ran hard and I want to thank all of the coaching staff because we are all training really well. Let’s keep this up. The words from the President always make me happy. It was important to collect a positive result tonight and we achieved that. Now however let’s turn our attention to the next match with Torino. We’re all working hard and giving our best for the club.”

“I am happy with my performance. It was not easy tonight, but I am enjoying a positive moment. I no longer have any personal problems and I am happy about tonight’s match and about playing my part for the team. We had to give a top-level performance tonight and we did exactly that. This is a good result against a great side that is in good form. I am training well and ready when called upon. We’re now set to face teams that we have to collect points from. We are all focused on doing well and improving our position in the table.”

“This was a very difficult match and it was far from easy to come away with a positive result, but we did it. As the coach said, the second half of the season is proving itself to be one in which we are getting our revenge. In the first half of the season, we lost to Napoli, Inter, Fiorentina and Genoa. We have since beaten 3 of those sides and drawn the other. We have collected 15 points in the second half of the campaign so let’s keep this going. Zapata was exceptional tonight, as were the full-backs and Alex, but I really must compliment Zapata in particular. Honda is a great player. I liked the team’s performance tonight because they battled, they held firm and came away with a point from a tough ground. From the past 19 matches, we have lost just twice. The President’s comments to win every match were a provocation, but we will try. We now have two home matches, one in Serie A and one in the TIM Cup. Let’s see what happens and keep looking ahead.”