Saturday December 21 2013
Lopez: 'No cage for Napoli'

Cagliari Coach Diego Lopez warns his men won’t just defend against Napoli, nor “build a cage” for Gonzalo Higuain.

The Stadio Sant’Elia hosts tonight’s Serie A tie at 19.45 GMT, click here for a match preview.

“It’s true we are coming off a positive run of results, but Napoli are stronger than us and we must therefore work as a team,” said Lopez in his Press conference.

“They have so much quality in so many players that it’s pointless building a cage around any individuals like Higuain.”

Lopez is a former Cagliari defender and even scored against Napoli at the Stadio San Paolo.

“It’s different because as a player you get all that tension and energy out on the field, but as a Coach you are forced to stand on the touchline.

“Right now the table says Napoli are behind Juventus and Roma, but that’s just because they haven’t found their consistency yet. In terms of quality of football, Napoli are on a par with anyone.

“As for us, we will not just think about defending. Experience teaches us that if you focus only on not conceding, you will lose eventually. We must be aware that we can hurt Napoli too.

“I admire Rafa Benitez a great deal, as he won in Spain and England, while he’s already doing very well here.”

Luca Rossettini is suspended, so there has to be a change in central defence alongside Davide Astori.

“I have already chosen who will play and have full faith in him. It’s a real shame only 5,000 fans are allowed into the stadium, as this is a top level game. At least we’re playing it in Cagliari.”

The Sant’Elia is undergoing restructuring work and currently only one section is open to the public.

Cagliari squad for Napoli: Adan, Avramov; Astori, Avelar, Del Fabro, Murru, Oikonomou, Perico, Pisano; Cabrera, Conti, Cossu, Dessena, Ekdal, Eriksson, Nainggolan; Ibraimi, Nenè, Pinilla, Sau