Monday August 18 2014
‘Napoli, Athletic face same pressure’

Andoni Iraola has reflected on the ‘same pressure’ Athletic Bilbao and Napoli face this week, and says there’s no fear in travelling to Naples.

The Basque Country outfit are in the city this midweek for Tuesday’s Champions League Play-off round first leg tie with the Vesuviani.

The winners progress to the group stages of the UEFA competition and this is very much in the mind of both teams, according to Athletic’s vice-captain.

“We and the Azzurri face the same pressure,” Iraola has explained to the Gazzetta dello Sport today.

“It has cost so much to get to this point and we want to play to our best.

“We are proud to be able to compete against teams who can buy who they want at the price they want. For this, it is more beautiful when Athletic achieve certain goals.

“We have confidence in our system, we do not have an inferiority complex to the more wealthy clubs in football.

“Is there fear in going to Naples? I do not see why this would be something that would happen. We are going there to play football and in this city there are problems as there are in others.

“Naples is a city with a magic touch, in spite of having a bad reputation because of the dirt - I visited this summer with my wife and liked it very much.

“Against Napoli we will not give up on our style of play, which is to pressure high up the pitch.

“The important thing is to not relax against them - they are good on the break and if we allow them to close up at the back and to counter, we risk suffering as a result.”