‘Chucky’: Napoli’s Gattuso ‘an ogre’ when angry

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Mexico winger Hirving “Chucky” Lozano is thankful to Napoli manager Genaro Gattuso for his patience after a tough first season in Serie A, but admitted that the Italian can be “an ogre” when angry.

Lozano failed to impress and get regular starts in the 2019-20 for Napoli, after signing from PSV Eindhoven as the club’s record transfer, with Mexico fans often calling online for Gattuso to be fired, but the situation has improved drastically this season.

“I’m infinitely thankful to the Mexican fans that support me,” said Lozano in an interview with TV Azteca. “[Gattuso] has his way of being, he is direct, and when he gets angry he is an ogre.”

He has a strong character, but you have to adapt and learn from that,” added the 25-year-old. “I think I have learned how to interact with the coach and how to handle him. The experience that I had last year opened my eyes. He’s a good person, I don’t have any doubt about that.”

Gattuso maintained patience with Lozano, asking him to work more defensively and be physically stronger, and it is paying off; the former Pachuca player is the club’s top scorer this season with four goals from six games.

Lozano admits that his first season in Italy was difficult for him and his family and he did wonder if they had made the right decision in joining Napoli.

“A lot of people don’t know what happened that year. It was a very complicated year,” said Lozano. “I said many times to my wife, ‘What are we doing here?’ It was honestly very complicated.

“Thanks to God and my wife’s help we moved forward. My daughter really tried, going to a school and not knowing the language, it was complicated, but now she’s more stable. That’s behind us, and maybe in the future we’ll remember it as something we were able to overcome.”

Lozano is back with the Mexican national team for the first time since September 2019, preparing in Austria for El Tri‘s game on Saturday against South Korea and is confident that coach Gerardo Martino is the right person to lead the team.

“His experience with the Argentine and Paraguayan national teams, the clubs he has been at, I believe that he transmits that experience on the pitch,” explained Lozano.

“He works on tactical issues, he explains how the play should be, how to start plays, I think that he is good for this team. The young players who come in have very good quality and they will be very good players, I think that the team is more complete now.”