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“Sick man” Sarri made me a better player, says Marek Hamsik

Torino FC v SSC Napoli - Serie A
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Napoli captain Marek Hamsik has credited his former coach “sick man” Maurizio Sarri as the biggest influence of his career

Sarri left the Stadio San Paolo at the end of last season following Napoli’s near miss in landing a first Serie A crown since 1990.

Carlo Ancelotti has since been appointed as the 59-year-old’s replacement, who has now taken charge at Chelsea.

But Sarri’s obsession with football improved Hamsik so much that the Italian’s influence will likely remain with him for the remainder of his career.

“Sarri is a man who belongs on the field, he lived the game 24-7,” said Hamsik, according to FourFourTwo.

“He was a sick man. He was obsessed with football and never even let the slightest detail get by him.

“What has improved me the most, has made me evolve technically and tactically, is Mr. Sarri.”

Life under Ancelotti began with a 2-1 win away to Lazio last weekend.

“We are all happy with Ancelotti, as in a few short weeks he showed us that he is a wonderful, open person,” Hamsik added.

“He gives us a lot of advice, is good fun and it’s no coincidence he has won everywhere he went in his career.

“Everyone is a little sceptical after the summer friendlies, but we saw in the win against Lazio how much grit we bring to the table in competitive games.

“Napoli are still a good side that wants to play football and entertain the fans. We haven’t won much, so far, but we really want to.

“It’s still early to say how this season will go, but the team hasn’t really changed that much.

“Every player in our system is fundamental and so is the coach, who brings his new ideas to a well-drilled unit, introducing them with balance and wisdom.”

AC Milan will be Napoli’s next opponents later this evening.

But it’s Juventus that will be the team to beat following Cristiano Ronaldo’s €112m arrival.

Hamsik said: “Quite simply, there are very strong opponents in Italy, teams built for years to win in Serie A and now seem built to win in Europe too.”