Napoli drew Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League round of 16, but goalkeeper Pepe Reina reminded his teammates they need to focus on the upcoming Serie A games.
The partenopei have nine games remaining before they take on the Spanish side in the Champions League. Reina said concentration is what remains important for the team in an interview with Radio Kiss Kiss Napoli.
“We have to prove that we are mature. The signs are positive and we want to continue along this path. There was a period where we made made mistakes and so, despite the performances, the results were slow in arriving. Torino is very dangerous, especially in attack, but it is crucial for us to win the last game at home before Christmas.”
Reina then proceeded to talk about the team’s accomplishments in the Champions League and the match-up against Real Madrid.
“There is a lot of time left for the Champions League. We have to be aware that we reached an important milestone by reaching the top 16 teams in Europe. Against Real, the city can enjoy our confrontation with one of the strongest teams in the world. They are clearly the favorites, but we will go to the Bernabeu without fear and thinking that it is an historic event. The away game is very difficult because they are very strong, but we are calm because we are not afraid of anyone. On returning, a full and loaded Stadio San Paolo awaits, able to give us strength.”
The Spanish keeper also added a comment on Napoli winger, Dries Mertens and the false-nine, which has garnered much discussion.
“With Dries, I have a special relationship. He is doing great things in a role that is not his own. He is important for us because he will be the future of this team. Il Pipita (Gonzalo Higuain) is the past, but I respect him and have no problem with him.”
Napoli midfielder, Allan Marques spoke to Ora Bolas about the club’s focus. Allan mentioned the challenges Napoli faces in the Serie A title race, but pledged its determination.
“We will do our best. The fans are eager to win, but Juventus is indeed very strong. We play good football, we’ve never changed philosophies. We defend high, we press and we do so in a way to have possession in our opponents’ half of the field often. In Italy all the matches are very tight and tactical. The teams study each other and therefore, each game is always complicated.”
Napoli will play Torino on Sunday, Dec. 18 in Serie A play. The azzurri’s first leg away at Madrid in the Champions League is scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 15.