Walter Mazzarri assures Napoli are “not amateurs” going up against Manchester City. “We have our style and players that can hurt them.”
The Partenopei dive back into the Champions League after 21 years, when it was still called the European Cup, at the City of Manchester Stadium on Wednesday evening.
“This isn't the first important game we have faced and we've learned to deal with emotion,” said the Coach. “I still have a few doubts on the line-up based on fitness, form and the tactics adopted by our opponents.
“It's true most of our players have never been in the Champions League, but we've played in the Europa League and Serie A. We're not amateurs diving into this without preparation. The nerves will dissipate after two minutes of football.
“Manchester City are strong and if we want to get a result, all the elements have to go our way. But we also have our style of football and players that can hurt them. We mustn't think about the group, but rather just this one night and what we achieve in 95 minutes of play.”
Marek Hamsik was rested for Saturday's 3-1 Serie A victory over Cesena, but is back in the starting XI tomorrow with Edinson Cavani and Ezequiel Lavezzi.
“We mustn't forget that after City we'll be facing Milan and Chievo. I might field Ignacio Fideleff or Federico Fernandez against Milan, but I can't just throw them in there without having properly learned the defensive movement yet.”
The game against Cesena showed big problems in defending from set plays and Mazzarri confirmed he has been working on that in training.
“If last season I rotated 10 players in the Europa League ties, for the Champions League I'll change two or three tops, so only those in best shape will get to play.
“City can pay for players who are guaranteed to make the difference, but we also finished third in our League last season without the same expenditure. We are proud of that. Some may not agree with our approach, but we're not stopping now.
“It had been over 21 years since Napoli were in the Champions League, but we are growing exponentially from Serie C to Europe's elite and again we must be proud. Tomorrow's game will feel like a Final to us.
“Having said that, we've already faced the likes of Liverpool and Villarreal, while if we finished third in Serie A, there must be a reason, so we'll take the same approach against Manchester City.
“We will put pressure on them and give them no time to think. Napoli have a specific idea of football that does not change, whether playing home or away.”