Tuesday, 28 February 2017
Mourinho called me ‘outstanding’ in EFL Cup final – Gabbiadini
Gabbiadini, 25, also had a goal wrongly disallowed for Southampton as they lost 3-2 to United at Wembley, but the Italy international was happy to receive the praise of Mourinho.
“When a personality like him comes up to you and says ‘you were outstanding and scored two phenomenal goals,’ then it makes you feel something special inside,” Gabbiadini told La Gazzetta dello Sport.
“Mourinho is a special person and not just for the success he has had as a coach, but because he is charismatic.”
Gabbiadini has scored five goals in three games since joining Southampton in January. Having struggled for regular playing time at Napoli, Gabbiadini has said he did not see eye to eye with coach Maurizio Sarri.
“I consider Sarri as one of the best coaches I have ever worked for, but things just did not spark between us,” Gabbiadini said. “For me, honesty and interpersonal relations come before anything else.
“I like people who say things to my face. This is a fundamental rule of life for me, not only in football but also in your private life.”
Things were different under Sarri’s predecessor Rafa Benitez, though. Gabbiadini scored 15 goals under the Spaniard in 2014-15 before seeing both the goals and his appearances dry up once Sarri arrived.
“My time at Napoli can be split in two,” he said. “The first six months under Benitez worked well. We had a really united group. Benitez took the courageous step of applying a scientific rotation, which meant there was room for everybody when we were playing every three days, between the league and the cups.
“Things changed when Sarri arrived. Sarri took a different route, picking the same players all the time. The others were just sitting in wait; there was a clear distinction between first-teamers and reserves.
“This is also an approach [that some coaches take] but obviously those who are left out cannot be happy in the long term. Benitez’s approach earned the club a Coppa Italia and Supercoppa so I don’t think his strategy was wrong.”