Luciano Spalletti knows the score: AC Milan are the champions and therefore the favourites. But he's convinced his Napoli side can give them a game.
Speaking to the media ahead of Sunday's clash at San Siro, the coach explained: “Milan are the reigning champions and if we want to do ourselves justice against them, we'll have to move the ball about faster than they do.
“Both teams are in good shape and both teams always set out to win – occasionally disregarding the team balance to do so. It's the sort of match that could be decided by pieces of individual play or possession play.
“It's going to be a wonderful showcase for Italian football. Napoli and Milan have similar philosophies – as [Stefano] Pioli said himself. Winning the league has made them a stronger outfit.
“If we want to come out on top, we're going to have to be more aggressive than them and make sure we don't lose the ball because they can strike you in an instant by exploiting the space. Regaining possession will be key.”
Did you think that your team would pick up the results it has so quickly after undergoing a major overhaul in the summer?
“Both myself and the club believed we'd put together a team with potential. You have to plan for the long term but we're getting good results already. We're very happy with the way things are going but you have to keep looking forward in football because one result can change everything.”
Do you see tomorrow as a test?
“I think I'm a bit old for tests. You have to keep a lid on emotions. It's certainly going to be a tricky, exciting game. Milan have been playing together and at the top of the table for three years. We have young, ambitious and highly motivated players. Last year we lost out due to fine margins. This year we're looking to do better.”
Not since Napoli won the Scudetto has this club had five players called up to the Italy squad...
“Our players deserve their call-ups. [Roberto] Mancini has shown he's not afraid to pick young players. We have a healthy squad atmosphere here with enterprising, quality players.”
Who is Napoli's penalty-taker?
“We decide on that depending on our starting line-up. Against Spezia for example [Matteo] Politano was first in line and [Eljif] Elmas second. Tomorrow we'll make a decision based on who is playing. We have lots of penalty-takers.”