Walter Mazzarri says Napoli have ‘confidence and peace of mind’ ahead of semi

By Sports Desk January 17, 2024

Napoli boss Walter Mazzarri hopes his side can keep building their confidence in Thursday’s SuperCoppa semi-final.

His side go up against Fiorentina in Saudi Arabia, where the winner will face either Inter Milan or Lazio on Monday.

Napoli have endured a mixed run of form recently and had lost four of their previous six matches before beating struggling Salernitana in Serie A on Saturday, lifting them to eighth in the league.

Amir Rrahmani struck in stoppage time to snatch a win that Mazzarri hopes has given his side positivity going forward.

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“Our sole focus is the Super Cup right now. The message I’m looking to give to the team is to give their all in our upcoming game,” he told a pre-match press conference.

“I’m happy with Saturday’s win because it’s given the lads confidence and peace of mind. We need to keep this up in order to fully recover the belief that we’d lost in recent times.”

Mazzarri will make a late call on Jens Cajuste and Piotr Zielinski for the semi-final, while Diego Demme is unlikely to feature due to a strain.

In October, Napoli were beaten 3-1 by Fiorentina in the league under former manager Rudi Garcia and striker Giovanni Simeone knows what challenges the team can present.

He said: “We’re really motivated for this game. We’re Serie A title holders and we’re keen to give our all.

“We’re not the favourites – the tie is very much open. However, we’ll go out there with a lot of positive energy.

“Fiorentina play good football and have often caused us issues. We’ll need to try to deny them of possession. We’ll need to put in a top performance, showing mental fortitude, belief and focus.”

Fiorentina have had a great season so far, sitting fourth in Serie A and having reached the semi-finals of the Coppa Italia with a penalty shoot-out win against Bologna earlier this month.

They were held to a frustrating 2-2 draw against Udinese on Sunday in the league, but manager Vincenzo Italiano is hopeful his side can give Napoli a “tough time”.

“We all have one aim: win the semi-final and reach the final to fight for the trophy,” he said.

“Napoli are a strong side, they are Italian champions and have quality players. I’m hoping to have prepared the game in the best possible way to give them a tough time.”

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