Napoli vs Manchester City - Pep Guardiola not prepared to hold back against Napoli

Posted Wednesday, November 01, 2017 by PA

Pep Guardiola has no intention of settling for the easy option when Manchester City face Napoli in the Champions League on Wednesday night.

City need just a point from a potentially difficult Group F clash at the intimidating San Paolo Stadium to secure a place in the knockout stages for a fifth successive season.

But playing for a draw is against Guardiola's principles and, although his side dramatically came unstuck when consolidation would have done in last season's last-16 tie in Monaco, the City boss wants to win.

Guardiola, whose squad received a few jeers from a crowd on arrival at their Naples hotel, said: "Why play for a draw when we can play for a win? We are going to try to win, like Napoli. They are athletes. When they play a game they want to win."

City have made a flying start to the season, winning 14 of their 15 games in all competitions and drawing the other. They have scored 45 goals in the process and won their last 13 in succession - a club record.

They have a 100 per cent record in the Champions League and a six-point advantage over the much-fancied Serie A leaders Napoli.

That is certainly pleasing for Guardiola, whose first campaign at the Etihad Stadium was underwhelming, but he is far from satisfied.

Speaking at his pre-match press conference in the Italian city, he said: "I'm so, so happy. Especially I like how we run, how we fight without the ball.

"Normally the big teams sometimes forget that, but that is a big thing for me because runs are an important part of the game.

"But it's a process. We'll be recognised if we win the titles. We are still far away because we are in November and we will see what happens.

"We have a gap. We have still something to improve. The players know that, they know what they can improve, and that is the mentality to getting there."

But while Guardiola might insist he is targeting victory, Napoli coach Maurizio Sarri was hoping the San Paolo Stadium would strike some fear into City.

Speaking at his pre-match press conference, as reported by, Sarri said: "Playing at home is an advantage for us with our great fans but City are certainly used to this kind of atmosphere. I would like to see some fear on their faces."

Like City, Napoli have made a superb start to their domestic campaign. They top Serie A by two points having won 10 of their 11 games and drawn the other, scoring 32 goals in the process.

The only blemishes have come in the Champions League, with the loss at City coming after a surprise reverse at Shakhtar Donetsk. They are third in the group at the halfway stage, six points behind City, who now only need a point to qualify for the knockout stage.

Sarri said: "I don't know if this game will be decisive because on paper City can win all the games.

"Obviously, whoever takes points against them has an advantage. Nobody is unbeatable, but I consider them the best European team of the moment with the best coach in the world."



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