Walter Mazzarri insists “Napoli can beat anyone – including Juventus” tomorrow evening, but laughs off links with the Lazio bench.
The Bianconeri are still unbeaten this season and welcome the Partenopei to Turin on Sunday night.
“We are now accustomed to playing games at a certain level and that is what is most enjoyable about this season,” said Mazzarri.
“Teams consider us to be an important club and for us it has become the norm to push all the way in every match. When we play at our best, Napoli can beat anyone – including Juventus. We’ll give our all in Turin for this shirt and our fans.”
It is a special occasion for Mazzarri, who marks his 400th match as a professional Coach.
“Many years have passed, but I remember my first season at Bologna. It’s been a nice journey and I had many satisfactions along the way. I started from nothing and worked my way almost to the top, because playing in the Champions League is truly important for a tactician.”
Their efforts in Europe could perhaps have cost Napoli the opportunity to fight for the Scudetto this term, but they will face Juventus in the Coppa Italia Final on May 20.
“I try to drill into my lads the desire to always play 100 per cent, but objectively it was difficult to fight for the title when playing in the Champions League. Of course there are regrets for how we lost certain points, like the two we dropped against Catania last Sunday.
“After that game, I sat down with my assistant manager and we focused on how to make our defending better from set plays. However, we shouldn’t get bogged down on that, as statistically we’re not that bad in these situations.
“What we do have to work on is maintaining our concentration to the final whistle, as it’s never over until that moment. When we lower our concentration levels, we are simply not the same team. It happened with Catania, but also against Siena.”
Mazzarri has been linked with a move away from Napoli at the end of the season, with the likes of Inter and Lazio on the cards.
“I am just focused on the next few games, so you’d have to ask the President about these matters. It is pleasing to hear of interest from Lazio, but I have a contract to 2013 with Napoli and I intend to respect it.”