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In-form Napoli wary of wounded Marseille

Published: Tuesday 5 November 2013, 19.50CET
While Rafael Benítez warns SSC Napoli against complacency as they seek a third Group F win, Olympique de Marseille are ready to go down fighting according to Élie Baup.
by William Anselmo
from Naples
In-form Napoli wary of wounded Marseille
Rafael Benítez talks to his players during training on the eve of the game ©AFP/Getty Images

Tournament statistics

NapoliMarseille

Goals scored10
 
5
Possession (%)50
 
50
Total attempts74
 
61
on target44
 
32
off target30
 
29
blocked0
 
0
against woodwork2
 
1
Corners23
 
15
Offsides19
 
8
Yellow cards11
 
15
Red Cards0
1
Fouls committed83
 
70
Fouls suffered93
 
69
Passes3425
 
2988
completed2524
 
2149

Press kits

  • Match press kit (local language)
 
Published: Tuesday 5 November 2013, 19.50CET

In-form Napoli wary of wounded Marseille

While Rafael Benítez warns SSC Napoli against complacency as they seek a third Group F win, Olympique de Marseille are ready to go down fighting according to Élie Baup.

Rafael Benítez has called on his SSC Napoli players to adopt "the right mindset" when they welcome Group F strugglers Olympique de Marseille on Wednesday. Benítez's side go into the game level on six points with Borussia Dortmund and Arsenal FC, who meet in Germany. Marseille, meanwhile, are yet to get off the mark but coach Élie Baup says the UEFA Champions League is always worth fighting for.

Napoli
Rafael Benítez, coach

We need to focus on this game against Marseille without thinking of the permutations. Of course I would have preferred an easier group in the Champions League, but we cannot change teams. There are no poor sides in the Champions League. It's important that the fans fill the stadium.

Finding the right balance takes time, and we still have to improve the cohesion of the group. I will not ask my players to focus on goal difference because the important thing is to play to win. Goal difference does not matter that much because it is our duty to win.

What is more difficult – the Italian league or the Champions League? Both competitions are tough; the championship is very long while the Champions League is full of dangerous teams.

This Marseille team has plenty of quality and is physically strong. Perhaps they are lacking a little in confidence, but we still have to play with the right mindset. We are favourites to win but we must not think about this because Marseille have a few players who can make a difference.

Weekend result
Saturday: Napoli 2-1 Calcio Catania (Callejón 15, Hamšík 20; Lucas Castro 25)
Reina; Mesto (Uvini 7), Fernández, Albiol, Armero; Dzemaili, Behrami; Callejón, Hamsik, Insigne (Mertens 90); Higuaín (Zapata 79).

• Marek Hamšík marked his 275th Napoli outing with a goal. He is now level with Bruno Gramaglia in sixth on the club's all-time appearances list.

Team news
Miguel Britos (dislocated collarbone) and Camilo Zúñiga (knee) are sidelined while Giandomenico Mesto has been ruled out until spring after suffering knee ligament damage at the weekend.

Marseille
Élie Baup, coach
We're playing for pride, to put our club in a favourable light. Today we have zero points in the group, but we hope to get at least a point tomorrow. This match is important. Some people say it is not worth fighting in this competition because we are on zero points, but participating in the Champions League is always something special and unique.

Even though we did not win [on Saturday], we worked well. The important things are concentration and tactics. Which team in the group has surprised me? The teams are all of high quality. In their respective leagues they are all top or near to it – and could win the title. It is hard to say who is the strongest. Napoli have so many quality players and it will not be easy to play against them.

Weekend result
Saturday: Stade Rennais FC 1-1 Marseille (Nélson Oliveira 9; J Ayew 16)
Mandanda; Abdallah, Nkoulou, Diawara, Morel; Romao, Imbula, Thauvin (Gignac 90+5), Valbuena (Cheyrou 84), Payet (Khalifa 71); J Ayew.

• Jordan Ayew scored his first Ligue 1 goal since 26 January and Steve Mandanda saved a 75th-minute Nélson Oliveira penalty as OM drew. It ended a run of five successive defeats, Marseille's worst sequence since enduring seven losses in a row in February/March 2012.

Team news
Defenders Lucas Mendes (ankle) and Rod Fanni (groin) are out with injuries.

Match fact
• Marseille took on FC Internazionale Milano in the 2011/12 UEFA Champions League round of 16, losing the away leg 2-1 but going through on away goals after a 1-0 win at home courtesy of an André Ayew effort in added time.

Last updated: 05/11/13 20.07CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/season=2014/matches/round=2000479/match=2011810/prematch/preview/index.html#napoli+wary+marseille

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