Napoli midfielder Piotr Zielinski taken off after 19 minutes against Empoli after appearing to be struggling to breathe

NAPOLI midfielder Piotr Zielinski was taken off after just 19 minutes against Empoli as he appeared to be struggling to breathe.

The Pole went to the touchline and motioned to his neck and chest.

Zielinski, who put on a coat and was taken into the dressing room, was then replaced by Lorenzo Insigne.

A statement released by Napoli later confirmed Zielinski had some breathing difficulties, but subsequent tests came back negative.

Napoli said: "Zielinski went out with breathing difficulties. The tests he underwent gave negative results."

Visitors Empoli won he game 1-0 thanks to Patrick Cutrone goal, after it ricocheted off the back of his head.

Napoli are now without a win in three, losing their last two matches as they sit fourth in the table.

They are only three points off league leaders AC Milan and manager Luciano Spalletti insisted the fans have faith in the players.

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He said before defeat toEmpoli: “The fans can also sense this total devotion to the jersey.

"They trust these players now and can remove any brakes on their infinite passion for Napoli.

"That kind of support weighs on our results, as we are always stronger with them behind us.”

Napoli recently beat Leicester in a 3-2 thriller in the Europa League.

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