Walter Mazzarri made no attempt to hide his feelings as he gave his first press conference since returning to the helm of Napoli, ten years on from his previous spell.
The coach revealed his excitement at working with the champions of Italy before discussing his difficult first assignment – an away game at Atalanta.
Is this the best team you've ever worked with?
“Definitely and it's also a squad that's a joy to coach. Honestly, I feel very emotional. It's been a pleasure to see this team coached by [Luciano] Spalletti and I'm happy to have the chance to work with them. I thank the president for the wonderful opportunity he's given me.”
What difficulties do you think Napoli have had after such a successful season last year?
“When a club tastes success, especially if it's their first Scudetto in 30 years, you have to focus on every little detail because you can't take anything for granted. You ease off without wanting to. It happens subconsciously and that naturally translates into a drop-off on a mental level.”
“There's also the fact that everyone you play against is extra careful because you're the reigning champions, so you obviously need to give more than 100%.
“I'll be watching every little detail and I'll slowly grasp whether my initial tactical impressions in these first few days is something we can work with.”
What did Aurelio De Laurentiis ask of you when he asked you to return to the Napoli dugout?
“There's mutual respect and fondness between us. I don't need to tell you about our relationship after all the years we've worked together. Maybe he will tell you what we said to each other.”
What's your first impression of Victor Osimhen?
“Osimhen is a hard-working lad who gives his all for the team and his team-mates and who has an extraordinary knack for scoring goals. I've only had him here for a few days. We're getting to know each other. In football terms, we'll need to wait a bit because he's coming back from an injury and hasn't been training for long.”
Have you decided whether you'll pick Giacomo Raspadori or Giovanni Simeone tomorrow?
“You know very well that I don't like talking about my team selection because I don't want to give our opponents any advantage. Raspadori and Simeone are both top strikers. I'll weigh everything up tomorrow and then decide.”
Do you think this team can still challenge for the Scudetto?
“My philosophy is that you have to give everything in the next game without looking beyond that. Tomorrow will be very tough because we're playing a very good team who are especially strong at home. Every match is an opportunity for me to collect data to try to get Napoli back to the level they were at last season.
“Until we start winning, how can we think about anything else? It wouldn't make any sense to make any bold claims. This team lost their last game. All that matters now is we get back on track and return to winning ways.”