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Ambitious Napoli alive to Villarreal threat

Published: Monday 26 September 2011, 21.03CET
Walter Mazzarri is concerned by injuries but determined his SSC Napoli side get the better of Villarreal CF in a competition he views as "the priority for us – ahead of Serie A".
by Marco Ghighi
from Stadio San Paolo
Ambitious Napoli alive to Villarreal threat
Walter Mazzarri's Napoli lost to Villarreal in last season's UEFA Europa League ©Getty Images

Tournament statistics


Goals scored14
Attempts on target31
Attempts off target47
Fouls committed120
Yellow cards21
Red cards1
Published: Monday 26 September 2011, 21.03CET

Ambitious Napoli alive to Villarreal threat

Walter Mazzarri is concerned by injuries but determined his SSC Napoli side get the better of Villarreal CF in a competition he views as "the priority for us – ahead of Serie A".

SSC Napoli coach Walter Mazzarri may be concerned by injuries but he is determined for his side to get the better of a Villarreal CF side that knocked them out of the UEFA Europa League last season. Visiting coach Juan Carlos Garrido, for his part, is confident that his side will play well, even if Italy international Giuseppe Rossi fails to recover from a knee problem.

Coach Walter Mazzarri

We faced Villarreal last season but we were not very experienced; this season it's different, but I certainly don't think we're the favourites. As Juan Carlos Garrido said, they have far more experience than us and even if Giuseppe Rossi doesn't play, they have a lot of good players who can score.

Rossi is important for them just as Ezequiel Lavezzi is for us, but we have our problems too. In fact, I have a lot of injured players: Marco Donadel, Miguel Britos, Blerim Dzemaili and Christian Maggio – I have no one else like him and it won't be easy for me to replace him from a tactical point of view.

This is our first year in the Champions League and I've spoken with the club president: we both agree that this competition is the priority for us, ahead of Serie A. So long as we are involved in this competition, we will do our best to keep going as far possible. The Champions League is too important for the history of SSC Napoli.

Weekend result
Saturday: Napoli 0-0 ACF Fiorentina
De Sanctis; Campagnaro, Cannavaro, Fideleff (Aronica 54); Zúñiga; Inler, Gargano, Dossena (Pandev 72); Hamšík, Lavezzi (Santana 82); Cavani

• Napoli kept their first clean sheet in eight games, since a 1-0 home win against Genoa CFC on 30 April, though after scoring six goals in their first two league games, Mazzarri's team have now drawn successive blanks.

Team news
Marco Donadel has been sidelined since suffering a right thigh injury in training on 3 September. Britos has been out since August (foot), while Dzemaili (ankle) and Maggio (thigh) are also out.

Coach Juan Carlos Garrido

We are going to play in a fantastic stadium against a fantastic team but we want to make strides in this competition and we need to collect points. It will be hard hard, but I'm sure that we will do well. Giuseppe Rossi is here, but it's unlikely that he will play because he has suffered a blow to the knee. Even if he doesn't play, we will be alright; compared to recent matches, we have more players available and we are growing as a team.

Group A has four of the best teams in the whole of Europe. Bayern, for example, are in really good form, but I think we will see some surprises by the end of the group stage. In the last year, Napoli and Villarreal have proven themselves to be among the best teams in their respective leagues. Napoli are one of the best teams in Serie A along with Juventus, Inter and AC Milan. It will be a difficult game for us.

Weekend result
Saturday: Athletic Club 1-1 Villarreal (Gabilondo 43; Nilmar 53)
López; Zapata, Gonzalo, Musacchio, Catalá; Borja Valero (De Guzmán 74), Senna, Bruno, Cani (Camuñas 88); Nilmar, Rossi (Ruben 59)

• Garrido's side, who ended last term with two draws and two defeats, have won two of their last 12 fixtures in all competitions. Second to Valencia CF at this stage last season, Villarreal are 13th this time around.

Team news
Marco Ruben has been ruled out of the Napoli game after breaking his toe against Athletic. The player he replaced on Saturday, Rossi, is a doubt after suffering bruising to his left knee, while Borja Valero is suspended.

Match fact
Napoli are hosting their first European Cup match since 1990 and are unbeaten in the competition at the Stadio San Paolo, having recorded one victory and two draws during their campaigns of 1987/88 and 1990/91.

Last updated: 27/09/11 9.33CET