By Musa Sunusi Ahmad
Napoli coach Gennaro Gattuso is now thinking about his side’s UEFA Champions League last 16 second leg match against Barcelona at Camp Nou after rounding off their 2019/20 Serie A campaign.
Napoli pipped Lazio 3-1 at home on the last day of the season to finish seventh, thus missing an Europa League qualification spot. But they have another chance to vie for European football competition next season in the Champions League. But they face a Barcelona hurdle in the Round of 16.
Barcelona host the second leg on August 8 with an advantage of a 1-1 away draw from the first leg in Naples.
Gattuso knows that his team is facing an uphill task against a Lionel Messi-inspired side. He trivialized his response to a question about facing Messi and company during his interaction with journalists on Saturday night.
“I can mark Messi only in my dreams, or if I set Napoli vs Barcelona on my son’s PlayStation, trying to catch him there when I played for Milan with 10-15 kilograms less than today,” Gattuso joked.
The Napoli coach then got serious as he looked to plot a game plan against Barcelona after the convincing win against Lazio.
“I think they [Barcelona and Lazio] are very different teams with two different styles,” he said.
“Lazio mixes technical and physical skills. Barcelona are all about quality. I think it will be a different game. We don’t have to think about score or not.
“We must play as a team, being confident that we can have our chances. We know that it will be an enterprise. Our mind must be free in order to express our qualities.”
Gattuso also talked about his captain, Lorenzo Insigne’s prospect for the big match in Camp Nou following an injury that force his 84th minute substitution during the match against Lazio.
He said: “Insigne spoke to the doctor, we’ll evaluate it over the next 48 hours when we have the test results. Hopefully, it’s not as serious as we first thought.”