The large presence of journalists in the press room at the Lluís Companys stadium impressed the head of communications at Naples. “This looks like a conference of the governing council of the Republic of Italy,” he joked from the lectern. Standing in the front row, the ineffable Aurelio de Laurentiis, the owner and president of the Italian club, who on the pitch, shortly before, had taken a player out of a Sky Italia interview, was following everything attentively. The film producer did not miss a single detail of the bravery with which his new coach, the third in the course, spoke. “If you’re afraid it’s not even worth showing up,” said Francesco Calzona about the mentality he wants on his team.

“We are Napoli and we are strong. “Naples have to play as equals against any team,” the coach, who is also the Slovakia coach, expressed his ambition. A vision shared by winger Matteo Politano. “Naples will have to play like Napoli and not defend too low. If not we will suffer. We have players who like to attack and we have to use possession against Barça,” the player also boldly prescribed.

Calzona barely had time to prepare and intervene in the first leg (1-1), since he disembarked the day before, but now he highly values ​​how Napoli has assumed his ideas. “The team is more compact, it doesn’t make as many concessions. We are defending forward because I don’t like my team to run backwards. “I am happy with what we have achieved but it is not enough, there is still a lot left to be the team I want,” he put as duties for the future.

The Italian is aware that one of the great dangers he faces is Lamine Yamal. Despite being a teenager, he already arouses fear in rivals. “I really like Barcelona’s players, but I am delighted to coach mine. Lamine Yamal has the qualities to become one of the best in the world. He is 16 years old and looks like a veteran. If he doesn’t get lost along the way, he can become a top player,” he highlighted.

Regarding Barcelona’s casualties, Calzona emphasized above all the absence due to injury of Frenkie de Jong in the center of the field. “De Jong is modern, he has physique and technique. I like him. But Barça has a long squad and I’m sure he will find a way to replace him,” he warned.

Finally, Politano revealed that Naples has worked on penalties in the face of an outcome in a shoot-out from 11 meters. “We have worked on penalties. But we hope to win the game first,” the striker was confident. For them it is also “the game of the year.” “This game prepares itself,” Politano admitted.