Roma head coach Jose Mourinho has congratulated Napoli on winning the Serie A title despite only half the season being completed.
Napoli are 12 points clear of closest rivals Milan at the top, having won 16 of their first 19 games and lost just once.
This is only the third team in Serie A history, after three times Juventus and one Inter, to win that many games in the first half of the season.
Roma will try to stop Napoli’s onslaught at the Diego Armando Maradona stadium on Sunday, but regardless of the result, Mourinho sees only one outcome in the title race.
“I will say what I always say: they have already won the Scudetto, and deservedly so,” Mourinho said at Saturday’s pre-match press conference.
“They are a great team with a great coach in Luciano Spalletti. Now they are 12 points ahead, and there are no teams that would scare them. The Scudetto belongs to them.
“We will not just give them way, but they have already won the championship. Congratulations to them.”
Napoli are undefeated in eight of their last nine Serie A matches against Roma, the only loss in that series coming in November 2019 (2-1 defeat at the Olympic Stadium).
Of the 10 managers Mourinho has faced at least four times in Serie A, Spalletti has the lowest winning percentage (20%), with just one win out of five.
For Spalletti, however, it’s still a one-game-at-a-time case as Napoli aim for the elusive first title since the 1989-1990 season under Diego Maradona.
“The results of other teams are not in our control, so we always have to behave the same way and play well, but be humble,” Spalletti told reporters.
“We pay attention to taking it step by step, concentrating on where we put our feet. We work every day and never again.”
Napoli were unbeaten in their last four home games against Roma – from 1985 to 1989 they didn’t have such a long streak (7 streaks).