NAPOLI coach Carlo Ancelotti has admitted his side are “in trouble” if the Serie A giants maintain their poor defensive form ahead of the Europa League tie against Arsenal.
The Italians have failed to keep a clean sheet since the first leg of their round of 16 clash against RB Salzburg on March 7.
Despite travelling to Austria with a comfortable three-goal advantage, Napoli nearly crashed out of the competition as they lost 3-1 in the reverse fixture.
On Sunday, the Serie A side only drew with Genoa 1-1 despite playing against ten men for the majority of the game.
And earlier that week their back line – led by £130m-rated Kalidou Koulibaly – had flopped again as Napoli had lost 2-1 to relegation-threatened Empoli.
Ancelotti admits that “alarm bells” are ringing for his side as their defensive mistakes might turn out costly at the Emirates on Thursday.
It’s an alarm bell, certainly, because if we play like this in London, then we’re in trouble
Carlo Ancelotti, Napoli coach
He said: “We’re defending badly at the moment, even when it was 11 against 10, and that means we cannot control the game.
“If you control the game, you don’t allow counter-attacks, you don’t let the opposition to turn and run at you.
“It’s an alarm bell, certainly, because if we play like this in London, then we’re in trouble.
“It is unusual to see Napoli doing that, so we have four days to focus back on the basics, because these are basics we’re getting wrong.”
The Europa League is Napoli’s main focus right now as Juventus – with a 20-point advantage over them – are on the verge of securing their Serie A crown for the eight year in a row.
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And Ancelotti’s men have almost sealed their Champions League qualification already as they are second, leading fifth-placed Atalanta by 12 points.
Meanwhile, Arsenal have suffered a blow to their top four hopes in the Premier League, dropping down to fifth after Sunday’s 1-0 loss at Everton.
Therefore, lifting the European cup could turn out to be Unai Emery’s side only way to secure Champions League football next season.