Napoli continued to talk down their chances of success after arriving at the Etihad Stadium ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League clash with Manchester City.
Before travelling to England, club president Aurelio De Laurentiis suggested the Serie A leaders should rest players for the Group F meeting with the Premier League pace-setters to prepare for Saturday’s game against Inter Milan.
Coach Maurizio Sarri said that would not happen as he spoke at his pre-match press conference but he did claim his team were already playing for second place in the group.
City have maximum points so far after victories over Feyenoord and Shakhtar Donetsk while Napoli have ground to make up after losing to the Ukrainians in their opener.
Sarri said: “If we want to talk about qualifying, tomorrow is not as important. Manchester City are playing at a different level than the other teams in the group. They are one of the strongest teams in Europe.
Napoli coach Sarri: "I watched a few [Man City] matches. I didn’t want to watch all of them because I didn’t want to get depressed…
— Jonathan Smith (@jonnysmiffy) October 16, 2017
“I think they will win the group so the results in the other games will be decisive for us. If one of the other teams takes points off City that would be great for us.”
De Laurentiis may have been thinking about the Group F situation in similar terms when he suggested Sarri should pick his team with the weekend in mind.
Napoli boast a 100 per cent record after eight games in Serie A but they are still just two points ahead of second-placed Inter.