Napoli coach Luciano Spalletti expressed his frustration over Frank Anguissa’s “unjust” red card, which added to the team’s injury woes during their Champions League quarter-final loss against Milan on Wednesday.
Anguissa was sent off with two yellow cards in the second half, while Ismael Bennacer’s goal in the 40th minute secured a 1-0 victory for Milan at San Siro.
Spalletti was already dealing with the absence of injured striker Victor Osimhen and his replacement, Giovanni Simeone. Despite his disappointment with the referee’s decisions, Spalletti remained confident that Napoli has suitable replacements for the upcoming return leg in Naples.
“I have nothing to say, commenting after the matches is wasted time, there’s no turning back,” Spalletti told Sky Sport.
“At this point, every absence is a blow for us, but we have someone who replaces him. It’s been like this for the whole season, otherwise, we wouldn’t have the results we have managed.
“We trust the group, but it’s a pity we won’t have Anguissa because I think it’s unfair… It was planned to replace him, I was looking at who to bring on in the three substitutions, but I was missing the third.
“The regret is that he played two more minutes while I decided. I’ll think about what I did, the referee won’t comment, [UEFA Referees’ Committee chairman Roberto] Rosetti will do it.
“From what I’ve seen, Anguissa gets a lot of ball… Let’s look at the yellow card for [Piotr] Zielinski and the one not given to [Rade] Krunic.”
Milan have defeated Napoli twice in 10 days, first in a 4-0 win in Serie A and then in the Champions League quarter-finals. They are also the only team to have prevented Napoli from scoring in more than one match this season.
Despite the defeats, Napoli coach Spalletti praised his team’s efforts and applauded Milan goalkeeper Mike Maignan for his performance, which included five saves.
“We had a great attitude, I congratulate the team on how they tried to play the game, even outnumbered. And congratulations to Maignan.”
Milan has a strong record in the Champions League knockout stages, having progressed from seven of their previous nine two-legged ties after winning the first leg. However, Napoli captain Di Lorenzo is optimistic about their chances in the second leg at home on Tuesday.
The Italy international told Amazon Prime Video: “We are a quality squad, to go through you have to win at home, we hope there will be a good atmosphere, as always this year.“