Walter Mazzarri backing ‘fearless’ Napoli to down Chelsea

Walter Mazzarri is confident Napoli will overcome Chelsea and reach the Champions League quarter-finals on Wednesday

The Sport Review staff
By The Sport Review staff at Stamford Bridge
walter mazzarri
Walter Mazzarri's side lead Chelsea 3-1 from the first leg Photo: The Sport Review

walter mazzarri

Walter Mazzarri claims Napoli have “nothing to fear” ahead of their Champions League last-16 showdown with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday.

Ezequiel Lavezzi’s brace and Edinson Cavani’s 20th goal of the season handed the Serie A side a 3-1 lead in the first leg at the Stadio San Paolo three weeks ago.

But the Napoli manager has urged his side to forget about that memorable victory and concentrate on producing another match-winning display in west London.

“I’m confident that, if we play the match we’re capable of, we’ll have nothing to fear,” said Mazzarri. “I want us to be like 11 lions when we don’t have the ball, attacking them constantly to get it back, and putting them under pressure when we are in possession.

“We shouldn’t think about the fact we won the first leg. We should play our own match and play exactly as we’ve always been playing.

“We must approach the game looking for a result in the same manner that we did when we played away at Villarreal, Manchester City and Bayern Munich.

“Every time we’ve produced our best we can beat any opposition. We know what we can do.”

Napoli’s sole success in Europe came in 1989, when Argentina legend Diego Maradona inspired the Partenopei to victory over German outfit Stuttgart in the Uefa Cup final.

And Mazzarri admits the prospect of emulating that great Napoli side, and reaching the last eight of Europe’s elite club competition for the first time, is an added incentive for his players.

“It’s great that we’ve managed to achieve what Napoli did in the 1980s and 90s with players like Maradona doing well in Europe,” he added.

“It’s been a great achievement for us to get to this stage, but we are getting so used to surprising everyone that it’s becoming the norm.

“It’s important we don’t change the way we play, though I don’t think my team could ever underestimate the importance of this game.”

MORE:

MORE: The latest football transfer news

MORE: Meet the Premier League's most stylish footballers

MORE: Do you know the top Muslim footballers in the Premier League?

MORE: Man United latest news

MORE: Arsenal latest news

MORE: Chelsea latest news

MORE: Liverpool latest news

The Sport Review
Steven Gerrard fires warning at Romelu Lukaku after fast Man United start
The Sport Review
Top 50 most stylish footballers in the world in 2017: Arsenal, Man United, Chelsea, Liverpool stars feature
The Sport Review
Top 40 Muslim footballers: Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Man United stars feature
The Sport Review
Top 25 footballers’ cars: Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Real Madrid players feature
The Sport Review
Top 20 Nigerian footballers in Premier League: Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool stars feature
The Sport Review
Arsenal player wages 2017: Do you know how much Xhaka, Ozil and Coquelin earn each week?
The Sport Review
Alvaro Morata fires warning at Chelsea’s Premier League rivals
The Sport Review
Steven Gerrard replies when asked how Liverpool FC can keep Philippe Coutinho
The Sport Review
Jose Mourinho hails Man United signing: His work is so important for us