Former Napoli defender Fabio Cannavaro believes the Partenopei are firmly in the title race, despite some shaky recent form. A loss to Fiorentina shortly before the international break led to reports that Napoli owner Aurelio De Laurentiis may look to Antonio Conte to replace Rudi Garcia. Despite the speculation, Cannavaro believes Napoli have a squad strong enough to challenge for the title, as well as making a bid to progress in the Champions League:
Have you been back to the Olympiastadion?
“I was in Berlin two months ago and I went. Only there was work going on so I had to wait a few hours before I could go in. I kept my memories.
“The wobbly plastic table on which my teammates supported me to raise the Cup. The majesty of a stadium where you feel the sense of history, think of what Jesse Owens did in the 1936 Olympics. Also imposing is the staircase that leads from the dressing room onto the pitch.
Will Kvaratskhelia and his teammates feel some kind of Olympiastadion syndrome tomorrow?
“No. Because that is not the Union’s stadium, it is not a real home facility for them. And then because there is a considerable difference in values on the pitch. The Germans come from eight defeats, Napoli – respecting the opponent – must win the double header to book passage to the Champions League round of 16. A success is too important to regain self-esteem and re-launch in the league too.
How did it go in Verona?
“In recovery, after the poor performance against Fiorentina. You can see that the team’s potential is remarkable and when they put the opponent under, they manage to impose themselves. It must continue like this.
What did you like most?
“Cajuste, he has good physical and technical qualities, the only one who took advantage of Raspadori’s work”.
Perplexed about Giacomo as a centre forward?
“No, but we’re talking about the classic ‘false nine’ who serves to benefit players moving in. But apart from Cajuste, Napoli have players whose characteristics prefer the ball to their feet. Napoli’s potential is remarkable and when they put the opponent under, they manage to impose themselves. It must continue like this
Do you expect to see Simeone as a starter in Berlin?
“Garcia himself said that he wants to alternate them, also to not give the opponents points of reference. The Argentine then has a contagious hunger for his teammates. They will both do well.
What is there to improve?
“The defensive phase. This team is used to recovering the ball high and still has important numbers in reconquest. But it doesn’t do it with consistency and ferocity and by dropping the pressing and lowering the centre of gravity it gets into trouble. In short, these players, because of the lessons they have been taught, do not know how to stay… at home.
And what did he think of Natan?
“He started out a bit blocked, now he’s gained confidence. But it depends on the team’s movements.
The surprise for the Azzurri?
“I hope Lindstrom. He can give additional quality to the team’.
Is Napoli still in the running for the Scudetto?
“In my opinion yes. The squad is still very strong.