Sarri: No prize for being top now

Maurizio Sarri says there is little significance to being named 'winter champions' after ending 2017 on top of Serie A with a 1-0 win over Crotone.

Napoli lead second-placed Juventus by four points but with half of the season still to play, Sarri is not preparing a victory parade for his team just yet.

After Marek Hamsik's solitary goal on 17 minutes at the Stadio Ezio Scida sealed the narrow win, the manager told his club's official website: "You don't get anything for being winter champions – it means nothing. 

"What we can be proud of is the results we've achieved so far.

"It's not much of an achievement to be top at this point but the 99 points we've earned in 2017 are a huge return and it certifies the good work we've done.

“We're proud of that but we also know we have to carry on like this because as things stand we've won nothing. We have 48 points and our aim is to ensure Napoli are in the Champions League again next season.

“We didn't kill the game off today but we never ran any risks. Crotone only had one shot on goal. Perhaps it was precisely because we felt in control of proceedings that we eased off a touch and weren't able to take one of the many chances we had to put it to bed.”

When questioned about potentially strengthening his squad in January, Sarri added: "It's not something I deal with but I have complete faith in the club and our sporting director. 

"As far as I'm concerned, it's hard to improve this team. My primary concern is to get the most out of the players I have to work with and perhaps improve some of the lads who haven't played so much. At the moment I'm very happy with the way we're working as a team.”

Napoli return to action at home against Atalanta in the Coppa Italia on Tuesday 2 January 2018.

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