After Napoli’s 3-1 Champions League win over Red Star, Partenopei coach Carlo Ancelotti was quick to bat away the permutations going into the final Group C match with Liverpool.
A rampant Napoli made light work of Red Star at the Stadio San Paolo, Marek Hamsik opened the scoring after just 11 minutes as Napoli set the tone for the game, before a Dries Mertens double made sure of the points with El Fardou Ben Nabouhane bagging a consolation for Red Star.
“We did well in the match, and played with great intensity, so a drop at the end was normal,” Ancelotti told the press.
“We could have avoided the goal, but we shouldn’t think about going to Liverpool while making various calculations.
“Paradoxically, the goal we conceded [against Red Star] is better for us, otherwise we would go to Anfield to play for a 1-0 loss, and you only qualify if you play better.
“We are not able to do waiting games, we will play to our qualities and with the things that give us an advantage, because that is what gives us pride.
“After five matches, we are leading a difficult group with two excellent teams and this gives us a lot of belief.”
The trip to Anfield in December is likely to decide who will join PSG in the knockout stages, and Napoli know that a win or draw will see them through. A 1-0 defeat would also have been enough, if they hadn’t conceded against Red Star.
“The advantage we have comforts us,” Ancelotti went on. “As do the performances we have given. We stumbled at times, but we did well against Liverpool.
“We know how to do it [qualify] and we will do it with personality, without the need for calculations.
“There is still everything to play for, even Red Star, who could beat PSG. Nothing is certain, so making calculations is a waste of energy.
“We now have to think about Monday [against Atalanta] which will be more difficult than Liverpool.
“I like Anfield a lot, it is beautiful, spectacular even. We are happy to be playing there. It is a unique experience, some good, and some less good, but memories all the same.”