Napoli are gearing up for the second leg of the Champions League quarter-finals, while Milan are taking no chances, says head coach Luciano Spalletti.
Along with their Serie A dominance this season, which brings them closer to their first league title since the 1989-90 campaign, Napoli also made it into the top eight of Europe’s last top club competitions for the first time.
But a goal by Ismael Bennacer meant that Spalletti’s team suffered a 1-0 defeat in last week’s first leg at the San Siro, while midfielder Franck Zambo Anguissa also saw a red light to leave Parthenopei without one of their key players as they look to overthrow one – Goal deficit at Stadio Olimpico on Tuesday.
Spalletti, however, believes that Napoli should start the game with optimism and not under pressure, telling reporters at his pre-match press conference: “Being in the Champions League at this stage is already something important.
“We want to move forward, we want to win, so we will play to win. Then we’ll see where we end up.
“We believe we can do more. There is no risk in tomorrow’s match, we risk infinite happiness. If you win, you will go even further.”
Napoli lost at the San Siro despite having more shots, possessions and shots on goal than the opposition, and Spalletti believes his side will have to repeat that result again on home soil.
“We have to do the same as in the first match, where we came out with a small loss,” said Spalletti. “In general, I expect the game to be the same as in the first match.
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“I am convinced that important situations can only be created if we perform at a high level, if we are intense, if we can find these gaps and get out of them as quickly as possible. I think it will be the same tomorrow night because the team deserves a good game.”
Napoli look to come from behind against one of the most successful teams in the Champions League and only Real Madrid (14) have won the competition more than Milan on seven occasions.
Asked if he thinks there is still a gap in the European experience between his players and those of the Rossoneri, Spalletti replied: “We create experiences for ourselves.
“We played a lot of games in the Champions League, on fields where we showed character and personality, I don’t see why it should be different now.
“But there is always the possibility of canceling any result and I expect the team to be able to do whatever is necessary.
“We have to think about playing the game normally, putting everything we have into it. This level of football and competition is a reward for the players for what has been done so far, a reward for the city for all the love it has for these players and we will have to give it our all.”