Francesco Calzona spoke to the media in the pre-match press conference on the eve of Napoli’s Champions League last-16 first leg meeting with Barcelona at the Stadio Maradona.

“We’re starting over as of today,” explained the new boss. “We’re resetting everything and beginning a new path. I’m here to give this team an identity.”

What sort of impact have you had on the dressing room so far?

“I’ve felt that this team is fully committed. We haven’t done much talking as what we need at the moment is actions rather than words.

“We have little time so we have to speed up the learning process. I’ve told the players there are no excuses and we need to be loyal to ourselves.”

The Stadio Maradona will have a key role to play tomorrow.

“The Napoli fans are wonderful, but rather than asking them to help us, we need to be the ones captivating them and making them proud.”

How is Victor Osimhen?

“Osimhen has been in full training and we’ll assess him in the final training session.”

What do you fear about Barcelona?

“They’re a side with top players and a brilliant coach, but we’re Napoli and we can’t fear anyone.

“I’ve watched Barcelona at various points and we’re in for a very tough game, but our mentality is that we want to win every match.”

What did it mean to you to work with two top coaches like Maurizio Sarri and Luciano Spalletti?

“I’ve worked alongside three great coaches, including [Eusebio] Di Francesco as well, as I hold him in such high regard. They’ve all taught me fundamental concepts and I’ve since added my own. They’ve all been crucial to my development.

“Sarri and Spalletti have enhanced my career. They’re different coaches with huge personalities. I’ve learnt so much from them and am so grateful for that.”

How are you feeling at the moment?

“Of course, I’m so pleased to be here. When I got on the motorway, I could feel the adrenaline running through me. It’s fascinating to be involved in such an important match straight away.”

Have you got an idea of what hasn’t been working at Napoli in the last few months?

“Napoli are a strong side. Some of the connections need to be fine-tuned, but this is still a strong side. I’m excited about it and am full of confidence.

“I think it’s more about self-belief than tactics. I can only stress that there’s a quality squad here and they showed that by winning the league at a cantor and having a wonderful season last year.”

What has Aurelio De Laurentiis asked of you?

“The president hasn’t put any pressure on me. He’s been very calm and kind. He told me to believe in the goals that we’ve set and the main one now is trying to get into the top four in the league to qualify for the Champions League.”

Would you take a draw tomorrow?

“No, absolutely not. I would never accept a draw before a match. We’re Napoli and we want to play to win. If Barcelona do a good job of stopping us, we’ll respect the outcome on the pitch, but I repeat, we are a strong team and we need to have that winning mentality.

“Tomorrow I’d like the team to follow my instructions and the things that I’ve asked of them in the last few hours. That would give me a big confidence boost.”

Do you feel you can give this team an identity over the next three months?

“If that doesn’t happen, it will mean I’ve failed. I couldn’t bear the thought of my team not having an identity. I told the lads to have clear heads and get the enjoyment back as well. If we do that, we’ll be able to find our rhythm.”

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