NAPLES (Reuters) – Napoli will be “idiots” if they do not qualify for the knockout stages of the Champions League, their coach Carlo Ancelotti said on Tuesday.
Last year’s Serie A runners-up will clinch their place in the last 16 with a match to spare if they beat Red Star Belgrade at home on Wednesday and Paris St Germain fail to win their match at home to Liverpool.
“This group seemed almost impossible at the start but we’re in a very good position,” he said.
“We’ve baked a very good cake and now we just need to put the icing on the top. If we don’t get through, we will be proper idiots.”
However, the former Real Madrid, Chelsea, Paris St Germain, Bayern Munich and AC Milan coach warned that Red Star were an “underrated team.”
“They have reignited their qualifying chances, they have a well-organised defence and will try to make the most of the counter-attack…We won’t think about the PSG game, we will think about ourselves,” he added.
Ancelotti was fired by Bayern Munich early last season and said he sympathised with their current coach Niko Kovac, who is also under pressure after a series of disappointing results.
“I think it’s the same problems I experienced,” he said. “It wasn’t easy for me and I hope it will be easier for him, I wish him all the best. I’m always on the side of the coaches.”
(Writing by Brian Homewood; Editing by Ian Chadband)