February 26, 2020 / 8:32 AM / a month ago

Gattuso says Napoli will use 'helmets and armour' at Barcelona

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Champions League - Round of 16 First Leg - Napoli v FC Barcelona - Stadio San Paolo, Naples, Italy - February 25, 2020 Napoli coach Gennaro Gattuso REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane

(Reuters) - Napoli coach Gennaro Gattuso was in typically combative mood after his side were held 1-1 at home by Barcelona in the Champions League, saying they would use “helmets and armour” to defend themselves in the return.

Tuesday’s result left the Serie A side with a huge task in the return at Camp Nou on March 18 but the famously fiery coach refused to accept his side were out of the running in the round of 16 tie.

“I’d like to answer that question in my style but I can’t,” he said when asked if Napoli still had hope of reaching the quarter-finals for the first time.

“Of course nothing is finished, we know there will be difficulties but we’ll buy the helmets, the armour and we’ll go and play at Camp Nou.”

Dries Mertens gave Napoli the lead before Antoine Griezmann equalised in the second half.

Gennaro took over at Napoli in December, his second job in charge of a Serie A side after AC Milan, and has managed to revive the team after a shaky start.

“At least this match gave us the awareness that if we play as a team, we can give great performances,” he said.

He was pleased by the side’s “willingness to suffer” as well as their quality against Barcelona.

He added: “There is regret that we drew but, really, not much changes between 1-0 and 1-1 — we know that whatever happens we have to put in a great performance there.”

Writing by Brian Homewood; Editing by Peter Rutherford

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