Napoli desperate to continue resurgence against ‘direct rivals’ AC Milan

By Sports Desk October 28, 2023

Rudi Garcia is determined to hit AC Milan when they are down and relaunch Napoli’s Serie A title defence.

A rocky start to the season saw the Partenopei fall well short of expectations and critics of new head coach Garcia’s approach did not take long to make their voices heard.

But three league wins from four have thrust Napoli right back into contention and a home win against second-placed Milan, whose bubble has been burst by consecutive defeats to Juventus and Paris St Germain, could lift them to third.

“We have this home match against one of our direct rivals and it’s one we really want to win,” Garcia told reporters.

“There’s a good atmosphere in the camp. We’ve had a decent run of results but we know that if we really want to move up the table we need to keep winning back-to-back games.

“We want victory at home especially because we have the help of our fans after two wins on the road.”

Milan were one of the few sides to get the better of Luciano Spalletti’s Napoli last season, memorably winning 4-0 at Stadio Diego Armando Maradona as the hosts were trying to rubber-stamp their Scudetto.

“It will be a different game to last season,” Garcia said. “People keep saying this Napoli team is different to the one from last season so this game against Milan will be different too.”

Rossoneri boss Stefano Pioli, meanwhile, is demanding an instant response to last weekend’s San Siro reverse against Juve and a 3-0 humiliation at PSG in the Champions League on Wednesday.

He said at a press conference: “The team is hungry to turn things around.

“For the first time this season, we’ve lost two in a row in two big games and tomorrow we have another one.

“We’ll need to show that we have the quality to be a consistent side. We have to keep at it for 95 minutes against teams like this.

“We must live in the present; we’ve made mistakes and got results that we didn’t want. We have the chance in Naples to put in a better performance and show that we’re better.

“Garcia is a great coach. He had issues at the start – which is normal – but now they’re playing well and creating a lot.

“We need to be aware of Khvicha Kvaratskhelia because he can hurt you one-on-one. We’ll try to be alert.”

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