Sarri backs Gabbiadini to shine in Milik's absence


Maurizio Sarri has backed Manolo Gabbiadini to step into the void in Napoli's attack left by Arkadiusz Milik's injury-enforced absence when they host Roma on Saturday.

Milik has settled into life in Italy well following his close-season move from Ajax, scoring seven goals in nine appearances in all competitions.

However, Napoli's replacement for Gonzalo Higuain is set for a lengthy period on the sidelines after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament while on international duty with Poland.

That leaves Sarri short of an out-and-out striker, but the Napoli boss is confident his squad, and particularly Gabbiadini, are capable of stepping up and delivering the goals they need.

"They [Milik and Gabbiadini] play in almost the same way," he said. "Milik isn't there, now Gabbiadini is. 

"We'll figure something out, because Manolo can't play all the time, but for me he just has to play. He's a great player.

"We have different solutions, it depends on the match. I think [Dries] Mertens can do better against teams which sit in, while [Jose] Callejon can do well in behind teams if they push the defence up."

Prior to the international break Napoli suffered their first defeat of the Serie A campaign against Atalanta, something Sarri is keen to quickly put behind them for the visit of top-three rivals Roma.

"It's an important game for us, we're coming off a bad performance," he added.

"Roma are very good in attack, so it's a complicated game. I hope the team is good, Bergamo might have left us with some uncertainty.

"We need to grow in some games where we haven't expressed ourselves to the maximum, we have to grow because we have a lot of youngsters.

"We need to fulfil our potential and if we can do that we can open up an important cycle."