Simone Inzaghi admits “facing Napoli is not the simplest thing” and urges his Lazio side not to let their levels drop.
The Biancocelesti welcome Maurizio Sarri’s men to the Olimpico tomorrow, with the Partenopei having won all of their first four Serie A fixtures.
“Facing Napoli is not the simplest thing,” Inzaghi confessed in his pre-match Press conference.
“We have to play everyone and tomorrow we’ll face a great team so we have to play a great match, with the right group spirit.
“Even in Genoa I saw a great Lazio for the first 60 minutes, one of the best since I’ve been here, but then an unfortunate incident saw us concede a goal.
“Straight away our intensity dropped and when that happens we become a very ordinary team. To stay at certain levels we can’t allow our intensity to drop.
“In the last 16 games Napoli have won 14 and drawn two, they haven’t lost in the league since February.
“They, along with Juventus, are contenders for the Scudetto. They’ve kept the important elements of their team, they’ve done well to reject bids.
“We’ll need to play a great match, we need to do better than last year when we came into the Napoli game after two draining games with Roma and Sassuolo, and we deservedly lost.
“We need to play a brave match, as a group.
“I don’t know if the gap with Napoli has narrowed, I think we need to show that on the pitch. Napoli finished third [last season] and could do more.
“This year Napoli have advanced further, they’ve kept all their players and they’ve been working with the same Coach [Sarri] for three years.
“They’ve started off well in the league, and even if they’ve stumbled in Europe they can recover.
“I’ve spoken so much about Sarri, he’s transmitted his ideas and Napoli play a beautiful style of football.
“I think they’ll play with [Lorenzo] Insigne, [Dries] Mertens and [Jose] Callejon, we’ll try to deal with them. Those three determine Napoli’s fortunes, as well as Sarri’s organisation.
“We’ll have to be brave, and as a group we’ll try to make the match difficult for Napoli.
“We have to play and interpret this game well, we played a courageous game in Naples last year and then at the Olimpico we paid as we were playing our third match.
“Napoli are like Juve, we have to overcome them and be determined. When we play well in matches, even against teams better equipped than ourselves, we’ve had exciting games. Hopefully that will happen tomorrow.”
It’s been suggested that 10,000 fans could travel up from Naples for this game, do the Aquile deserve a better home support?
“I know they’ll have a lot of fans, I’m sure ours will help us as they did against Genoa. They supported us for 95 minutes and we got three important points.
“Last year against Palermo and Sampdoria we had 50,000 at the stadium and it was wonderful. Playing on Wednesday, I think a lot of people will have work on the Thursday.
“The lads from the Curva will be there, and I hope the other sectors will be too. I’ve been told a lot of fans are coming from Naples.”
The tactician also gave updates on the condition of Nani and Stefan de Vrij.
“De Vrij had a problem at the end of the first half [against Genoa], he didn't ask to come off but considering he was also on a yellow it was too big a risk.
“We’re optimistic, I’ll see him today. I don’t know if he can train, but I hope to have him available for tomorrow.
“Nani had his first training session with the team yesterday, he did everything at the same level as his teammates, but it’s normal that he needs time.
“I’ll talk to him, I’ll see if I can call him up.”