Napoli coach: 'Those who have little understanding take Milan lightly'
"I don't want to meet the Italian representative," Spalletti told Kiss Kiss Napoli about the Champions League quarter-final draw. "I heard some comments, and saw that only incompetent, ignorant people say that meeting Milan is a good draw for Napoli."
According to the Italian coach, Milan is more appreciated than Napoli because they "feel at home" and have experience in the Champions League, having won the C1 Cup/Champions League seven times in 1963, 1969, 1989, 1990, 1994, 2003 and 2007. Milan's performance is only inferior to Real - the club was crowned in 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1966, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2022.
Spalletti also mentioned that the legendary Paolo Maldini - a famous former Italian defender who is currently the director of Milan - has won the championship with this club five times in 1989, 1990, 1994, 2003 and 2007.
"In the last few days, I also read that PSG and clubs like Man City have not been able to win the championship because of the lack of experience in Europe. If what they write is true, then Milan is highly rated in the Champions League. They beat Tottenham, a very strong club," Spalletti explained.
The 64-year-old coach was also proud when Napoli surpassed expectations to be the top team against Frankfurt in the 1/8 Champions League round - which he considered a huge disadvantage. "The match against Frankfurt is very complicated, because all Napoli will definitely go through," Spalletti analyzed. "That creates a psychological disadvantage for us. Then there is great happiness, when we play with a certain freedom of mind."
This is the first time Napoli has reached the quarter-finals of the C1/Champions League Cup in its 118-year history. When the legendary Diego Maradona, Napoli twice participated in the C1 Cup: losing to Real in the first round of the 1987-1988 season and losing to Spartak Moscow in the 1/8 round of the 1990-1991 season. They entered the Champions League seven times between 2011-2020, including three times in the 1/8 round, three times in the group stage and once in the preliminary round.
"Happiness is worth it, but in the Champions League, that only lasts until the next round. A city with a huge fan base like Napoli deserves even more than that, not just the ticket. into the quarterfinals," Spalletti added.
Meanwhile, Milan coach Stefano Pioli thinks that meeting any opponent in the Champions League is difficult, but he believes the home team will continue. Milan lost 1-2 to Napoli right at the San Siro in September 2022 and is now 20 points behind the opponent in Serie A. "Napoli is very strong, doing much better than Milan in the country. But the Champions League is the Champions League, and Milan is Milan," emphasized Pioli.
Not only stopping at the semi-finals, Pioli is also ambitious with Milan to win the Champions League this season. "Why should we think we can't succeed? We have played at a high level, but the immediate goal is Serie A games," added the 57-year-old coach, referring to Udinese's away game. Today.
According to Sky Sports Italy, while watching the whole team practice, two directors Paolo Maldini and Ricky Massara immediately announced that they were drawn to meet Napoli in the quarterfinals. The general reaction was positive, as the Milan players were ready for two tough, but winable turns. There is little fear or pressure, but the Milan side are "excited" and "desperate to test their mettle" in Europe's top encounter.
The quarter-final first leg will take place at San Siro on April 13, with the return leg at Diego Armando Maradona a week later. Milan and Napoli also met in Serie A on April 2.