Sarri: I called Higuain lazy

Napoli head coach Maurizio Sarri says that he is getting the best out of Gonzalo Higuain after telling the former Real Madrid striker that he is too lazy.

The Argentina international scored his ninth goal in 12 appearances this season to secure a 1-0 win over Chievo Verona at Stadio Marc'Antonio Bentegodi on Sunday.

"What did I say to Higuain in pre-season?" Sarri asked Sky Sport Italia. "I told him he was too lazy and if he didn't change his attitude he'd never become the best centre-forward in the world.

"He in part agreed with that consideration, as he couldn't get 100 percent out of his capabilities. We spoke clearly, so this turned into an honest and direct rapport that probably helps motivate him."

Higuain thought his side were fully deserving of their eighth win in nine competitive games, which kept the Partenopei alongside Fiorentina, Inter Milan and Lazio in joint second place in the Serie A standings.

"We are sending a message to ourselves," the 27-year-old said. "We focus only on us and don't look at what the other teams are doing. This is a very balanced league and there are many teams close together with a very long way to go."

Sarri was also reluctant to talk about winning the title, with league leaders Roma just two points ahead in what is shaping up to be a very competitive Serie A season.

"I continue to say that's blasphemy to even talk about it," Sarri added. "Ask Roma about the Scudetto. There's no point talking about second place either, as we have to focus on [the match against Palermo on] Wednesday."