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Koulibaly admits issue that led to Napoli’s Europa League defeat

Kalidou Koulibaly - Napoli
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The Senegalese defender explained a key factor that led to Napoli losing 3-2 to Spartak Moscow in a Europa League fixture at home.

Kalidou Koulibaly has admitted most of the Napoli players had their focus on the trip to Fiorentina on Sunday after suffering defeat in the Europa League.

The Serie A leaders lost 3-2 at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona on Thursday night. Elif Elmas’ first-minute goal handed them a dream start until Mario Rui’s red card before the break. The dismissal changed the match, igniting a comeback from Spartak Moscow.

Quincy Promes, Mikhail Ignatov, and Maximiliano Caufriez all scored to hand the Russian side a two-goal lead. Victor Osimhen pulled one back for a 10-man Napoli in injury-time, but it was too late.

The defeat was Napoli’s first of the season and a lack of concentration was a key factor behind it.

“It was a tense finale because their assistant manager was winding us up during the break,” Koulibaly told Sky Sport Italia.

“I don’t want to look for any excuses, we could’ve done much better. We lost this match and have much to learn. It takes a lot of work to win every single fixture.

“There’s disappointment and regret, but we need to take it one game at a time. I think we were already thinking about Sunday’s game with Fiorentina and that was a mistake. If we play with our minds elsewhere, we’re going to struggle.

“This match taught me a great deal, on a personal level too. The coach [Luciano Spalletti] was very disappointed; he told us before the game how we should approach it. From tomorrow [Friday], we must find the right focus for a difficult test against Fiorentina.”