Mazzarri - City match is 'final'
Napoli coach Walter Mazzarri says that he will treat his side's Champions League clash with Manchester City as a cup final.
Last Updated: 13/09/11 11:07pm
Napoli coach Walter Mazzarri says that he will treat his side's Champions League clash with Manchester City on Wednesday evening as a cup final.
The Italian club are back in Europe's most prestigious club competition after 20 years and will begin their campaign with an encounter with the Premier League outfit at the Etihad Stadium in Group A.
Villarreal and Bayern Munich are the other two sides in what is arguably the toughest of groups and have more Champions League experience, but Mazzarri insists that they will not be daunted by anyone's reputation.
"It is obviously a very difficult group," said the Italian tactician. "Statistics say we are not the group favourites - we are the least favourites - but I do not believe this is important.
"We have had positive growth and all we need to do is keep focused and keep calm and take the competition one game at a time.
"We will play against Manchester City and play as if it is a final."
Excitement in Naples
Explaining the significance of Napoli's return to the Champions League, Mazzarri added: "I live in Naples and can see how people feel.
"It is our fifth year back in Serie A. Now we are getting into the Champions League and not through the back door.
"The players have done a lot to bring the team to this level. Both the technical staff and I are very proud."
Meanwhile, midfielder Christian Maggio believes that Napoli can conjure up a victory in Manchester despite Roberto Mancini's side being rated as one of the favourites to win the premier club competition this campaign.
"City have several quality players but our mindset will remain the same," enthused the 29-year-old. "We will try to make a strong start but won't allow ourselves to feel the pressure.
"Even if we do have respect and it will be tough I am convinced we have a chance. We are not worried, we are ready. I see a lot of excitement.
"There is something about playing against players more experienced but we are all looking forward to it and we have performed very well in the last two and a half years."