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
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.”