Former Italy coach Arrigo Sacchi has called for Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis to be patient with Maurizio Sarri after his side suffered defeat against Real Madrid.
De Laurentiis was critical of Sarri's tactics as Napoli slipped to a 3-1 defeat in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie at the Santiago Bernabeu, describing the performance as "a failure".
However, Sacchi has called for more gratitude to be shown to the coach for his achievements at Stadio San Paolo.
Napoli are third in Serie A, just two points behind Roma and nine adrift of leaders Juventus, and the 70-year-old urged De Laurentiis to give Sarri the support he needs to be successful.
"Italy should say thank you to Sarri," Sacchi told La Gazzetta dello Sport. "They are doing something extraordinary, these guys.
"The way they play is appreciated by their opponents and this is an important signal. Everyone says their team plays better against Napoli. We must be proud that such a team is Italian."
Sacchi acknowledged De Laurentiis' influence at Napoli, but admitted they are not yet one of Italy's biggest teams.
"De Laurentiis is a leader who has done a lot for Napoli, taking them from Serie C to the Bernabeu - not cheap," said Sacchi.
"He has invested so much and the club has grown, although it is not yet a top club. But De Laurentiis must be more generous and more prudent in such statements."