Napoli coach, Gennaro Gattuso, has charged his lads to stand up to Barcelona ahead of their meeting in the knockout stage of the UEFA Champions League first leg in Sao Paolo.
The former AC Milan coach, who is also hoping to see a fearless Napoli against the La Liga giant said it’s useless to man-mark Barcelona’s best player, Lionel Messi.
As he prepares to face one of the greatest teams in the tournament, Gattuso said he expects to see a different Napoli and not the usual one that has struggled with home form in the Serie A this season.
Speaking at a press conference, Gattuso, who described Barca as a team with a great squad, admitted that he is yet to do anything with the team in Europe, lauding the effort of the sacked coach, Carlo Ancellotti who took over the manager’s job at Everton.
While noting that the emotions are there, he said that his team needs to produce the kind of performance they gave against Juventus.
Looking forward to tonight’s game against a team that knows how to punish their opponents, Gattuso lauded the side’s coach Quque Setien, adding that since his arrival, Barcelona has continued from where they left off.
Reeling out statistics, Gattuso pointed that Barcelona won the ball back in ten seconds against their opponents under Ernesto Valverde, but did it in six seconds with the current manager.
He added that for this reason, Napoli needs to have a great game in both halves tonight knowing fully well that they have to face Barca’s assault and will be ready to take a lot of risks as well.
While lauding his captain, Lorenzo Insigne, the Italian world cup winner said there is still time for the 28-year-old to improve as a leader by being consistent with what he does by giving his soul to the team with little talking.
Speaking on Messi, he said he’s not only great at a footballing level, but also the greatest on his career pattern, adding that the Argentine is an example for the kids to follow.
Not willing to give away his tactics, the Italian said he is working hard to keep the players motivated for the challenges ahead.
Written by Oladipupo Mojeed