Maurizio Sarri insists “Fiorentina should win the Scudetto, not Napoli” and still considers Juventus the favourites.
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“The reason Napoli-Fiorentina is a big game is because of the Viola. They are top of the table and it’s no fluke, as they are the only team to have controlled every match,” said the Coach in his Press conference.
“We are only midway up the table and are seeking consistency to climb a few places.”
Sarri was famously born in Naples and the only child in his school in Tuscany to support Napoli.
“Obviously Fiorentina can never be a ‘normal’ opponent for me, because I lived 15km from Florence. I’d love to make a good impression tomorrow.
“I see my men looking confident in training and we will play them openly tomorrow. I’ll evaluate Lorenzo Insigne today, but he seems to be ready.
“The Viola often defend with four at the back, despite nominally starting with a three-man defence. I think Paulo Sousa will take the same approach tomorrow, considering his results so far.
“It’s a dangerous situation for us, because Sousa has so much quality at his disposal. We must try to stop their wide men coming forward.
“We must cut ourselves off from all that is around us, both good and bad. It’s the best way to do our work. Results help raise the level of enthusiasm and I expect an inferno at the San Paolo.
“Who will be the decisive man tomorrow? Well, I always did dream of scoring a goal at the San Paolo… The Coaches never make the difference, as it’s the players who go on the pitch.
“Fortunately Gonzalo Higuain stayed here, he seems to be confident right now and I hope he’ll be decisive tomorrow.
“If Marek Hamsik had Allan’s defensive capabilities, then he wouldn’t be human! On the right Jose Callejon gives us a great balance, as he’s fundamental for us and beyond the norm when it comes to tactical focus. There’s less balance on the left, but just as much talent.”
The Partenopei’s remarkable recent form has made them Scudetto contenders, but Sarri continues to pour cold water over these suggestions.
“I still consider it blasphemy. Fiorentina beat then-leaders Inter 4-1 at San Siro. Fiorentina should be winning the Scudetto, not us. They are in front, they are stronger and they have more possession than any other side, so we expect to suffer.
“Who would I bet on for the Scudetto? I’ve never even bought a scratchcard in my life! I don’t like these games. Juventus aren’t there yet, but we are only at the 7km mark of a marathon, so the overwhelming favourites must still be Juventus. It would be madness to rule Juve out of the title race.”
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