Napoli coach Walter Mazzarri has
laughed off talk that his side are favourites ahead of Tuesday's
Champions League last-16 first leg against Chelsea in Naples.
Mazzarri is revelling in Napoli's progress to the knockout
rounds after 22 years away but was keen to point out that the
Londoners had far more European experience despite their
"Now we are simply happy to be here playing two matches
against a Chelsea side that have played more than 100 games in
this competition and this says a lot," Mazzarri, banned from the
dugout for pushing an opponent in the group stage, told a news
conference on Monday.
"It seems strange to me that people are saying we are
"I hope they are not at their best because they have lots of
Fifth-placed Chelsea have won two of their last 10 Premier
League games and drew 1-1 at home with second-tier Birmingham
City in the FA Cup Fifth Round on Saturday, prompting
speculation that Villas-Boas could be sacked if they fail to
impress at the imposing San Paolo.
Napoli have also not been in great form in Italy's Serie A,
having been outside bets for the title at the start of the
season. They lie sixth but shone in Friday's 3-0 win at
Fiorentina where strikers Edinson Cavani and Ezequiel Lavezzi
Mazzarri will be forced to cheer on his side from the stands
and is not able to meet the players at halftime or communicate
with the bench by telephone.
"We prepare for the game beforehand. I'm sorry I can't be on
the bench but (assistant Nicolo) Frustalupi is perhaps better
than me as a tactician," he said.
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