Tuesday February 21 2012
De La: 'A magical night!'

Napoli President Aurelio De Laurentiis hailed “this magical night” and is confident they “can play without fear” away to Chelsea too.

The Partenopei have a good chance of going through to the Champions League quarter-finals after beating Chelsea 3-1 in the first leg.

“There have been so many magical nights in the last few years and this is one of them,” smiled De Laurentiis.

“The team deserved to win by stepping on to the field with great determination, reacting well to the defensive error and fighting back for the victory.”

They achieved it despite Walter Mazzarri missing out on a two-match touchline ban.

“Without the Coach on the bench, the team almost seems to take on even more responsibility, as they know that they can’t get anything wrong.

“Can we go through? As a fan, I always say ‘full steam ahead,’ but as President I have to consider the reality of the situation. It’s going to be very difficult to play in London, as that stadium puts pressure on you. But I believe my players are mature enough to play without fear in that stadium too.”

De Laurentiis has a curious theory as to why Napoli stepped up their game after captain Paolo Cannavaro’s howler gave Juan Mata the opening goal.

“In my view, it was a reaction down to team spirit. This auto-defence system sparked that made the group fight even harder to ensure Cannavaro’s error didn’t weigh on the result too much. The goal should’ve been avoided, even if 3-1 is a fantastic result.”

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