Friday September 9 2011
Lippi: Napoli have to believe

Walter Mazzarri opens Napoli's campaign against Cesena on Saturday, but warns “there are too many expectations around us.”

The Partenopei have strengthened their squad with Gokhan Inler, Blerim Dzemaili and Goran Pandev, so hope to improve on last season's third place finish.

“I am clearly very happy with the players who arrived this summer, but at the same time I'm convinced there are too many expectations around us and I don't like it one little bit,” said the Coach.

“Clearly we will try to succeed with all our strength and attempt to replicate last season, but it will be a very difficult task and we're well aware of that.”

Napoli open their season at the Stadio Manuzzi in Cesena, which has only just installed a new synthetic pitch.

“It is going to be a difficult game against a team that has reinforced, plus the minefield of that artificial turf that we'll be trying out for the first time this evening in the warm-up,” continued Mazzarri.

“We are confident that we can start the campaign on a high. We want to consolidate our position over time. It's only right the fans should dream, but those of us who work in football must be realistic.

“Last year we managed something extraordinary. On paper Milan, Inter and Juventus are in front of everyone. We have a great squad with players who can become champions in future. We qualified for the Champions League after 20 years and I know we'll go down in history for that.”

Their European debut is next week against Manchester City, so there is the risk of being distracted by that glamour fixture.

“The squad is totally concentrated on Cesena, as it's too important for us to start on the right foot with three points. We'll only think about Manchester City on Sunday.”

Napoli squad: De Sanctis, Rosati, Colombo, Aronica, Campagnaro, Cannavaro, Fernandez, Fideleff, Dossena, Dzemaili, Hamsik, Inler, Maggio, Zuniga, Cavani, Chavez, Lavezzi, Mascara, Pandev, Santana