Napoli President Aurelio De Laurentiis claims they’ve “faced far tougher tests” than Arsenal and notes “Cristiano Ronaldo didn’t help Juventus win the Champions League.”
The second leg of the Europa League quarter-final kicks off at 20.00 UK time (19.00 GMT) after a 2-0 first leg Arsenal result.
“This is a group of extraordinary lads who always gave their all. There can be moments in a season where you lose your sharpness, but I did not get frightened, nor tear my hair out,” the President told reporters after his lunch with Arsenal directors.
“Carlo Ancelotti is a very experienced Coach and a good person, so these are very important factors for me. I have no need to speak to Ancelotti before the game, as we’ve faced far tougher tests than this, at least on paper.
“We were in an infernal Champions League group and emerged with heads held high, just as we did under Rafa Benitez all those years ago.
“Arsenal caught us out on the counter-attack and we were a little distracted. We need concentration this time and could see a pleasant surprise.”
Napoli are the only remaining Italian club in Europe, as Juventus were eliminated by Ajax in the Champions League quarter-finals.
“Cristiano Ronaldo didn’t help Juventus win the Champions League. It’s the team that takes you to victories,” continued De Laurentiis.
“I hope that next season the rules change on the away goals being worth double.”
It was on the away goals rule that Tottenham Hotspur eliminated Manchester City last night after a 4-3 thriller.
“Last night, watching Manchester City-Tottenham, it was like a whole new world. I said to myself: this is football. Italy are prehistoric in their approach. It almost seems as if in Italy we don’t want enjoy ourselves and we hide behind tactics. That’s the real danger when facing an English club.”