Ancelotti: 'Meret is special'

Carlo Ancelotti felt Napoli’s hard-fought victory over SPAL was a sign of maturity and hailed “special” goalkeeper Alex Meret.

The Azzurri struggled at times and almost lost their lead in stoppages, but were able to win 1-0 at the San Paolo thanks to Raul Albiol’s goal.

This puts them only five points away from leaders Juventus, who still have to contend with Roma tonight.

“The match was not exciting, but personally I’m satisfied with the work we’ve done so far and I am confident that we can do better,” Ancelotti told reporters.

“We are in line with expectations. The championship remains open, not because of the points difference, but because there is such a long way to go.

“There is no need to bother ourselves with calculations, we just have to race against our own best and improve where we have to.

“We intend to remain competitive for the duration of the championship. We managed to scrape together wins even when we do not play very well.

“Tonight we lacked precision in our passes, even when we had the space for them. Later we were denied that space, and we should have played possession more purposefully, not just for the sake of it.

“And now it’s Juventus-Roma. That’s always a good match. The Bianconeri are the favourites because they are in a fantastic condition, but anything can happen in football. Let’s say we’re hopeful.”

Goalkeeper Meret turned out to be decisive for Napoli in defending their slim 1-0 lead, as he managed two remarkable saves in stoppages.

“We couldn’t kill off the game and so we suffered in those last few minutes, because SPAL put all of their efforts into getting the draw. We are not surprised about Meret’s quality because we see it every day in training.

“He is a great talent, even if he hasn’t always been lucky. Today he showed what he can do. He truly is a special goalkeeper.”

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