“Real Madrid need no introduction. We know all about their world-renowned stature and we’re ready to give 110% and show what we’re made of.” A determined and calm Rudi Garcia spoke ahead of his side’s huge Champions League game at the Maradona tomorrow.
“Playing in the Champions League is always special. We’re all really fired up and just hearing the anthem tomorrow will be amazing. As I’ve said before, Napoli deserve to always be in this competition because of the team’s quality and the stature of the club.
“We’re up against one of the best teams in Europe. Their trophy room is fit to burst and they’ve won five of the last ten Champions Leagues.
“We’ll need to give our all but keep our heads because there will be times in which we’ll just have to focus on keeping Real Madrid at bay. They’ve got great players in their squad who we’re all aware of. They were smart in replacing Karim Benzema with Jude Bellingham. While he isn’t a striker he’s fantastic at playing in the hole.
“We’re up against a complete team who play football out of this world, but we’re good enough to stand up to them. We’ve got to give our all and show what we can do.
After an indifferent start the old Napoli are back. Have you reached the turning point?
“I think it was just a matter of getting back among the goals, something we were having issues in achieving. We had a lot of the ball, we just needed to finish off the moves. I’ve never thought that we were in crisis. We won our first two games so it’s not like we got off to a bad start. I think we were just lacking a finishing touch in front of goal, something which has changed in the last few games. Khvicha Kvaratskhelia is back on fire and we’re doing better at finishing off chances, the same chances we were creating earlier on in the season but just not putting away.
“We’ve got our fourth game tomorrow in a short period of time. This calendar puts players at risk, especially those who’ve been on international duty. I’ve got to bear my players in mind but our aim tomorrow is to give it all we’ve got.”
Could the result tomorrow determine who finishes top of the group?
“It’s still early days to settle the group standings. It was important for us to get off to a good start by beating Braga away and now we’ve got to keep the momentum up and get another positive result.”
Could Real Madrid’s reputation alone affect your players?
“We’ve thoroughly analysed the opposition but the most important thing is to focus on ourselves. We need to go into the game feeling relaxed and confident in what we can do in the match. We know we’re up against one of the best teams in the world but we’re also aware of what we can do.”