MAURIZIO SARRI risked the wrath of Juventus fans after admitting he was HAPPY to lose to Napoli.
But his side were awful as they crashed to a 2-1 defeat, allowing Inter Milan to move within three points of top spot in Serie A after Antonio Conte’s men drew 1-1 with Cagliari.
Juve were second best all over the field, recording just 48 per cent of possession and playing less passes than Gennaro Gattuso’s struggling side.
Piotr Zielinski opened the scoring in the 63rd minute before Lorenzo Insigne made sure of the result four minutes from time.
Cristiano Ronaldo netted in the 90th minute to give Juve a glimmer of hope.
But it was too little, too late for the visitors, who lost for just the second time this season in the league.
Juventus fans were understandably disappointed by the result, but Sarri’s comments after the game may have made them even more upset.
He spent three years as Napoli boss before joining Chelsea in 2018.
NAPOLI (4-3-3): Meret; Hysaj, Manolas, Di Lorenzo, Rui; Ruiz, Demme, Zielinski; Callejon, Milik, Insigne
Subs: Llorente, Elmas, Lobotka
Goals: Zielinski 63’, Insigne 86’
JUVENTUS (4-3-1-2): Szczesny; Cuadrado, De Ligt, Bonucci, Sandro; Bentancur, Pjanic, Matuidi; Dybala; Higuain, Ronaldo
Subs: Costa, Rabiot, Bernardeschi
Goal: Ronaldo 90’
And Sarri revealed afterwards that he still loves the southern Italian club and was glad that if he had to lose to one side, it was his former employers.
That’s despite the Napoli fans displaying banners full of abuse aimed at Sarri before kick-off!
He said: “I am happy for the lads, as I will always be fond of them.
“If you have to lose, I guess I’d rather it be here to help Napoli get out of their current problems.
“I’d rather they started winning next week, of course.
“Clearly, the game takes over and you have to detach yourself from everything around that.
“Napoli represented a special moment in my life and it’s always pleasing and emotional to be back here.”
But that didn’t stop Sarri from laying into his Juventus players, adding: “We were passive for the entire match.
“We played with a slow tempo, taking five touches, always distant between areas, extremely bland.
“It was a bad game, we had the wrong approach, intensity, psychological and physical interpretation. This cannot be us, evidently.
“We put Napoli into a situation where they only had to do the bare minimum to beat us.
“We were always late to every ball. It was as if we were in slow motion and nothing worked, it was all through the team.
“We should’ve felt more motivated to break away rather than less, otherwise this’ll mean we’re weak.
“I would hope not. If that situation weighed on us, even unconsciously, it means we aren’t ready yet.”
But there was one positive for Juve as Ronaldo’s 20th club goal of the season saw him score in his EIGHTH consecutive league match.
The only Juve player who has scored in more is legendary striker David Trezeguet with nine.
And Ronaldo has every chance of breaking that record with upcoming games against Fiorentina and Verona on the horizon.
He now has 31 goals this season alone for club and country, and could be on course for an amazing 50-goal campaign.