Napoli v Dnipro preview
Wednesday, May 6, 2015
FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk's Myron Markevych rates their chances of making the final as 40% before the first leg at SSC Napoli with whom Rafael Benítez is eyeing history.
Article top media content
• Rafael Benítez hopeful of creating "historic" moment with Napoli
• Dnipro's chances of progressing are 40% according to Myron Markevych
• Italian side aiming for second triumph after 1988/89 win
• Napoli are unbeaten in 12 European home games, winning nine
• Dnipro have lost their last five games against Italian sides, including two v Inter in the group stage
Napoli: Andújar; Maggio, Albiol, Britos, Ghoulam; Inler, López; Insigne, Callejón, Hamšík; Higuaín.
• Out: Gargano (thigh), Michu (thigh), Zúñiga (unspecified), De Guzmán (unspecified)
Dnipro: Boyko; Fedetskiy, Douglas, Cheberyachko, Léo Matos; Kankava, Rotan, Fedorchuk, Luchkevych, Konoplyanka; Kalinić.
• Out: Mazuch (knee), Zozulya (knee), Shakhov (unspecified)
Rafael Benítez, Napoli coach
This game is the first step towards getting to the final. We have to be focused. To get to another final, 26 years on from the last one, would be a historic moment for the city and for the club. That's all I am focused on. Today my agent is coming to Naples for talks with club president Aurelio De Laurentiis on the possible renewal of my contract, but that does not matter.
Dnipro have lost only twice in 17 matches this year. They work hard and they have a really good coach. They beat Olympiacos, Ajax and Club Brugge – they are in the UEFA Europa League semi-finals because they deserve to be. We need to show head and heart, and also to have faith in ourselves against a team that have quality players and know exactly what they need to do. The priority is to win; we won't rush but we must take advantage of our strength, our skill and our pace.
Myron Markevych, Dnipro coach
I have analysed a lot of Napoli matches and I obviously know the great potential of their team. They have good players like José Callejón, Gonzalo Higuaín and Marek Hamšík, so it will obviously be hard for us. I think Dnipro have a 40% chance of reaching the final and Napoli 60%. But tomorrow we will not be a supporting cast, we will fight in midfield and try to manufacture counterattacks. We will play our own game. I saw Napoli's match against AC Milan [a 3-0 Serie A win on Sunday] and we must try to do better than Milan. Napoli attack a lot but they can be attacked as well.
My players are calm, quiet and concentrated. It is a big game but we must not be afraid or withdrawn, instead we have to play and give everything we can. Yevhen Konoplyanka is our leader and I hope he will play a long time for this club. I have performed pretty well in the past against Italian teams with Metalist Kharkiv, but now I coach Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk and I look forward to being on the bench and organising my players on the pitch.
Paolo Menicucci: The 4-1 victory at Wolfsburg in their quarter-final first leg sent a strong message to the whole of Europe. Napoli have so far mustered 25 goals in their campaign to Dnipro's 11 while also conceding two fewer than their rivals. Statistics make Napoli clear favourites to proceed to the final, yet the likes of Olympiacos FC, AFC Ajax and Club Brugge KV have learnt it can be dangerous to underestimate Dnipro.
Igor Linnyk: If they can handle the pressure, Dnipro can be a match for anyone. They beat Napoli 3-1 at home in the 2012/13 group stage; a repeat of that result would put them in very good stead indeed.
Napoli 3-0 AC Milan (Hamšík 70, Higuaín 74, Gabbiadini 76)
FC Chornomorets Odesa 0-3 Dnipro (Kalinić 32 44pen, Seleznyov 76)
Form guide (all competitions, most recent first)
• These sides met in the group stage of the 2012/13 UEFA Europa League, with their encounter in Italy proving memorable for Edinson Cavani. Find out why and more in our extensive match background.