Napoli patron Aurelio De Laurentiis does not believe Inter will be any less of an opponent for his side on Sunday evening, despite their continuing struggles.
Defeat to the Partenopei in the Coppa Italia in January in fact began the Nerazzurri’s return to negative momentum, being the first of a run of six defeats from the last seven played.
Yet, despite that result also being Napoli’s second win of the season over Claudio Ranieri’s side following on from the earlier League success at San Siro, De Laurentiis has warned his Azzurri players that Inter will still be formidable competition come this Sunday evening.
“We are five points behind third place so to get a result against Inter would boost moral but also our general expectations,” the 62-year-old enthused to Radio Marte.
“However, we know it will not be easy, as even if Inter are not going through a positive period, they have great players and so we must be careful.
“They will come here with a knife between their teeth and we will have to deal with them in the same spirit shown against Chelsea.”
Napoli defeated the English Premier League side 3-1 on Wednesday night in the first leg of their Last 16 clash. On the return leg, De Laurentiis appealed to the London side and to UEFA to try to increase the Italians’ allocation at Stamford Bridge.
“If they fail to sell out, I’d like to stockpile more tickets for our fans. At least 2,700-2,800, but no more than 3,500-4,000. I want to avoid incidents, prevention is better than a cure. I’ll await news from London and work out how to move from then.
“We hope to do well [in the coming weeks], we will aim high, but so too will our opponents. I love the Coppa Italia for two reasons - it is valid insurance to get into the Europa League and it represents a major trophy.
“I’d like to win it and put it in our trophy cabinet. After eight years, it would be the first of a certain level.”
Think you know your Italian football? Share your knowledge, tips and comments to win cash prizes in OLBG's tipster competition - £5,000 monthly.