“The first aim is to bring back the essence and spirit of what made Napoli great last season.” On the eve of his side’s clash against Real Madrid our boss Walter Mazzarrri reiterated his footballing aims for his second spell in charge of Napoli.
“Tomorrow we’re facing a world-class club. We know all about what Real Madrid mean historically. We need to implement what we’ve been during the week and play our game.
“We’ll see where this gets us. Right now we’re only focused on this match. Our sole thought is to keep our Champions League dream alive.”
What kind of Napoli team can we expect to see?
“Napoli have had a certain playing identity for a long time and we want to express ourselves in this same way. I want to help the lads channel last season’s spirit. That’s how we expect to approach this Real Madrid game.”
What’s it like to be back in the Champions League after so many seasons away?
“Over my 62-year long lifetime I’ve experienced a lot of emotions. I’ve coached in the Champions League, including with Napoli, but I’m not thinking about the past. I’m only looking forward and focusing on my team, not about the bigger picture in which we’re competing.
“I’ve had a long career but recently I’ve been getting up to speed and studying modern football so that I’m on top of how things are.”
What’s the latest on Victor Osimhen?
“Osimhen is gradually improving. He played 25 minutes against Atalanta and we’ll see tomorrow whether he can start or just come on from the bench.”
Where would you rank Carlo Ancelotti in the pantheon of football coaches?
“Carlo is a friend of mine, a top human being. His track record speaks for itself – there’s nothing for me to add. He’s a fantastic coach who’s conquered it all. I’ve got all the respect and admiration for him. However, it’s the players who go out on the pitch, not us, as has been the case in the past and will be the case tomorrow.”
How do you think Napoli can cause Real Madrid problems? What tactical ideas have you brought to the team in the last few weeks?
“First and foremost, I’ve come into a situation in which I’ve got a top group of professional players. They’re top lads who are willing and able. As a coach, when you’ve got this at your disposal it’s a real pleasure to be in charge.”
“Since my time here Napoli have always done well because they’ve continued to have a strong unit. The club deserve special credit for this.
“As for what I’ve brought to the table, the proof will be in what the team do on the pitch. We don’t set limits nor objectives. We’ve started well and we want to keep this up. We’ll give it all we’ve got tomorrow and see where that gets us.”