Marek Hamsik has outlined Napoli’s intention to do well in the Champions League this year, and their readiness to face Athletic Bilbao.
The Partenopei host their Basque opponents tomorrow evening in the first leg of their Champions League Play-off tie, for a place in the group stages of the competition.
It is a clash that the club’s iconic No 17 has made clear his teammates are ready for, in spite of the Serie A season still being two weeks away from kick-off.
“This is an important game for us, we are going through the build-up without tension or fear, we are ready to go all out,” Hamsik has told reporters at today’s pre-match Press conference.
“The team is ready, even though there were many players at the World Cup and they returned to pre-season late. We are motivated for tomorrow.
“Last year we did well, we want to do so again this year, but we face a strong team and first we have to win this meeting.
“We have to do well in both matches and not only will tomorrow’s game count. But, we play at home tomorrow and we have to make sure this counts against Athletic, without making too many calculations, remembering that there will also be the return leg.”
Hamsik considered Napoli’s opponents tomorrow, and the advantage in having a Spanish Coach represents.
“Athletic are a modern team, they are aggressive, they are Basques, they have played with each other for years and this may be their strength.
“I think of Aduriz, a striker who can score goals, and Muniain, small and very fast, they are their most dangerous.
“I believe that they are going to come here to play openly, rather than sit back and defend.
“We can play with anyone, and we must be aware of this. The Coach counts a lot for us, he knows Spanish football, he has prepared us well for the game and for what it means to be Basque.
“We have prepared well for this game. We had a good first year with him as Coach and we now have to grow with him.
“Is there a favourite? This phase is always a risk, but the important thing is that the group must demonstrate that they can beat Athletic.”