Garcia 'calm' amid reports Napoli discussed head coach role with Conte
All was serene at Napoli on Friday as under-fire coach Rudi Garcia insisted he was "calm" while the club said it was negotiating with striker Victor Osimhen in "utmost serenity".
After the reigning Italian champions lost 3-1 at home to Fiorentina before the international break to slip to fifth in Serie A, Italian media reported the club was contemplating replacing Garcia with former Tottenham boss Antonio Conte.
"I am serene and calm," said Garcia at his press conference ahead of the Serie A game at Verona on Saturday.
"After the match against Fiorentina, I witnessed a lack of respect towards me. However, there were also journalists and fans who supported me," said the Frenchman, who took over from Luciano Spalletti in the summer.
"What has been said and written is exaggerated. I'm not saying we've done everything well, but we haven't done everything badly either."
"What matters is my relationship with the club that has supported me, with the president, with the managers and with my players," the Frenchman said.
The Italian media reported that club president Aurelio de Laurentiis had met Conte, who had turned down the offer.
On Thursday, de Laurentiis gave Garcia a barbed vote of confidence.
"I told Garcia straight in the eye: 'Continue doing what you're doing and don't worry'," he said.
"Everyone makes mistakes, and I hope they don't happen again", he said, before adding "In that case, he'll have our support".
De Laurentiis said he saw Conte during the international break but they were old friends who have "kept in touch".
"The rest is just gossip designed to weaken whoever is in charge of the team at the moment, and that annoys me," de Laurentiis said.
On Friday, Napoli released statement saying they remained hopeful of extending Osimhen's contract.
Di Laurentiis said he received several big-money offers for the striker after the Nigerian finished last season as Serie A's top scorer, but turned them down. At the same time, the player declined an offer to extend his contract, which runs into 2025.
Relations with Napoli turned briefly sour in September after the club's TikTok account mocked Osimhen for missing a penalty.
After his agent threatened legal action, Osimhen reaffirmed his love for Naples on Instagram.
"The people of Naples have shown me so much love and kindness, and I will not allow anyone to come between us," he wrote.
On Friday, the club insisted there was no bad blood.
"President De Laurentiis said nothing negative about Victor," said the club statement.
"To read that there is frost between Osimhen and Napoli is totally misplaced."
Osimhen, who has scored six times this season, injured a hamstring on international duty. The statement said De Laurentiis hoped to turn this to his advantage.
"In the coming weeks, aided by the fact that Victor will have to remain stationary for rehabilitation, De Laurentiis, Osimhen and his agent Roberto Calenda will meet to talk about the future, in the utmost serenity."