UEFA Europa League


Luciano Spalletti stressed that Napoli should not alter their game when they step out to face Barcelona in the Europa League on Thursday evening.

“We must always be ourselves, even at Camp Nou tomorrow,” the coach declared at his pre-match press conference.

"We must set out to play good football no matter who our opponents are. We can't change our approach, our mentality or our tactics because of different situations.

“We'll need to run hard, act smart and play well. If we want to go all the way in this competition, we have to show we can match teams of this calibre. We must be ready to tackle anyone, always with the same mentality.

“We know there might be times when we struggle at this ground but we must try to play our game and keep our identity at all times. We'll obviously have to defend as well while always being ready to break forward.

“With the quality in our team, we have everything we need to produce a great performance, a Napoli performance.

“We'll be missing a few players but with the squad we have we can make up for any absentees.

“We'll go out there to score and to win, then we'll see how the match goes. We obviously need to bear in mind the tie as a whole and the players who might come on.

“We know what we need to do to operate as a balanced unit. Games like these are special, the sort you dream of, and they can tell you how far you've come.”

Spalletti also fielded questions about Victor Osimhen's fitness and his opposite number, Xavi.

“Osimhen didn't train today as a precaution. We'll see how is tomorrow.

“Xavi was a fabulous player and as a coach he knows how to convey that quality to his team. He'll want to take Barcelona back to the level they used to be at but from what I've seen he's already doing a great job

“They build from the back as they know how to do. They strengthened in January and I think they're a top-level side. If you think about their history, it's hard not to be in awe, but we have to focus on ourselves, on what we can do, and on the football we've played for long spells of this season.”

(Photo LaPresse)