New Napoli boss Francesco Calzona on Barcelona clash: “I know it’s Barcelona, but we are Napoli”

New Napoli boss Francesco Calzona has spoken about the club’s upcoming Champions League tie against Barcelona, which will be his first game as manager of the Partenopei.

Calzona was in-charge of the club’s training yesterday and Walter Mazzarri was sacked on Monday. Calzona has previously been an assistant manager under both Luciano Spalletti and Maurizio Sarri and has been in charge of the Slovakian national team, with whom he’s now sharing duties as the new Partenopei boss.

Barcelona aren’t in a great situation either, with Xavi set to leave the club at the end of the season. Calzona spoke about the game against the Catalans and told:

“I know it’s Barcelona but we are Napoli. We are strong and respected throughout Europe. We have the obligation to play to win, we are at home and the public has never abandoned us even in difficulties. We must make them proud and happy with a victory”

Under Spalletti, Napoli used a 4-3-3 and they used that under both Rudi Garcia and Mazzarri, but the Italian changed to a 3-5-2 towards the end of his tenure. Calzona was asked about the formation and he stated:

“This team can also do other shapes, I like the 4-3-3 but I adapt to the characteristics of the players. We have only arrived a short time ago and we cannot sum up how they are doing. I don’t think the problem is physical but mental, it is our job to free them mentally and be a real team.”

He further spoke about the identity that he wants the team to play in, saying: “I like that the team plays football and they know how to do it. I want it to have an identity and play as a team. I am aware that there is no time for this and I will ask for a sacrifice so that they understand what I ask as much as possible short time possible: good game and results, we have no other way.”



Kaustubh Pandey | GIFN

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