Napoli head coach Carlo Ancelotti denied his squad have turned against him after the club’s winless streak extended to eight matches with a 2-1 defeat to Bologna at home on Sunday.
The pressure is mounting on Ancelotti as Napoli – runners-up in the league last term – languish seventh in Serie A, 17 points behind leaders Inter and eight adrift of the Champions League places.
Napoli’s woes come amid internal problems, with owner Aurelio De Laurentiis looking to impose fines on players who deserted a recent training retreat.
Speaking after Bologna attacker Nicola Sansone’s 80th-minute goal condemned Napoli to defeat at the San Paolo, Ancelotti – who has been linked to Arsenal – told reporters following the match: “The team is against the coach, they say. But it isn’t so.
“I have an excellent relationship with the squad. No one has ever failed to respect me. I don’t see any friction between the players and us.
“We exchange ideas every day, the situation must be resolved quickly, because we are failing badly.”
The Neopolitans went ahead just before half-time through Fernando Llorente but substitute Andreas Olsen got the away side back into the game before Sansone struck the winner with 10 minutes to play.
Napoli, who claimed a 1-1 draw against Champions League holders Liverpool in an impressive performance on Wednesday, have now lost two and drawn six of their past eight games.
“It’s not a problem of tactics, more of an attitude problem,” Ancelotti said. “Three days ago we showed great solidity against Liverpool, and we played with three midfielders.
“We have conceded many goals, it’s true, we need solidity, but it is the mental aspect that must be improved by taking even a smidgen of responsibility.
“The fans are disappointed and I can only agree with them. I must be more lucid in order to resolve this situation.”
Napoli will be aiming to get back into winning ways when they travel to Udinese in the Serie A on Saturday.
After that they face Genk at home needing only a point to progress to the Champions League knockout stage, with their head-to-head record stronger than Salzburg.