Stefano Colantuono has warned of Napoli’s strength and versatility ahead of Atalanta’s Saturday-night meeting with Walter Mazzarri’s men.
The Orobici Coach has personally not beaten Saturday’s adversary Mazzari as a Coach from four previous attempts, whilst he hasn’t faced Napoli since March 2008.
Whilst hinting at how his Atalanta team will set about facing the Partenopei, the 49-year-old warned of the many strengths they hold as opponents.
“To beat Napoli, it takes a lot of determination, organisation and clear ideas. Mazzarri’s team can harm any opponent.
“They have demonstrated this against Manchester City, one of the top clubs in the world, so they can also hurt Atalanta.
“You can take the right countermeasures, the Azzurri are very dangerous - they do not give reference points, they can counter attack and mistakes will put you in trouble.
“Together with Milan, Napoli is the League’s strongest team. And I know [Edinson] Cavani well, he is a great player.”
Colantuono took over at Palermo at the same time that the Rosanero brought Cavani to Italian football and subsequently gave the Uruguayan his Serie A debut.
After eulogising Saturday’s opponents, Colantuono took time to acknowledge those of his Atalanta side, that include current Serie A top scorer German Denis and promising youngster Maxi Moralez.
“Denis is the catalyst for the team. Moralez is the one that creates the chances exploited by the others - I congratulate my boys, we would have 19 points but for the points penalty, I admire them a lot.
“It is a lot [of points] for a newly-promoted team. The ranking, however, says that we have 13, so we will fight until the end of the season.”
Atalanta were deducted six points in the summer for the part they were deemed to have played in last season’s Serie B betting scandal. Captain Cristiano Doni received a three-year ban.
“The penalty makes us angry, it was a terrible summer, we had this punishment for objective responsibility. But we are well-equipped, compacted it and immediately zeroed the minus six points.
“Of course, if we were not penalised we would be facing Napoli with very different psychological motivations.”