NAPOLI boss ANCELOTTI: "My players want to make a name for themselves"

Published on: 18 September 2018

Introducing Napoli CL opening game, an away one against outsiders Red Star Belgrade, Azzurri boss, Carlo Ancelotti, who will have to face such sides as Liverpool and PSG afterwards, stated: "Everyone knows we’re playing on a tough ground. But we are really excited to start this adventure on the right foot. I’ve played twice in Belgrade, once as a coach and once as a player, and both times went well. Let’s hope it happens for the third time, although we are aware we’re coming up against a strong side in a fiery atmosphere.

I think everyone in Europe knows how difficult it is to play here against Red Star, and we have so much respect for their quality. We will have to fight and cope well under pressure. Our group is really tough, but we are excited and motivated to play against such prestigious opposition.

What I’m pleased about is that the squad isn’t feeling the pressure and isn’t nervous. The Champions League is a competition that doesn’t let you think too far ahead. We need to focus on our first match and then we’ll see. I’m convinced this team can be competitive in the Champions League. The driving factor at the moment is a desire to begin this fascinating competition well. It would do good for our morale as well. We’ll try to impose our style of play from the get-go tomorrow. The whole city of Naples loves this competition and we’ll do everything to bring joy to our fans. The president has come with us to help motivate the team.

We probably don’t have the experience of other more successful sides, but what we definitely have is the excitement of a young group of players who want to make a name for themselves. The Champions League is a competition we care so much about."

The coach also spoke about how the team has evolved under his stewardship.

"I continue to insist that this team has a style, which has been built up over the last three years and needs preserving. It has never occurred to me to rebuild the team; I just want to give more tactical options to the players. I don’t want a side with just one identity but many."

Finally, Ancelotti revealed he is waiting for the final training session before picking his starting XI.

"I’ve not decided the team yet," he concluded, "I need to have a close look during the final training session. We need a fresh line-up because I think the tempo is going to be frenetic tomorrow."