Ancelotti backs Napoli to emerge from 'difficult' Champions League group

Carlo Ancelotti believes that Napoli can thrive in a "difficult" Champions League group, while hinting at changes to his team.

Napoli head coach Carlo Ancelotti   -  Getty Images

Carlo Ancelotti is confident that Napoli can overcome Liverpool and Paris Saint-Germain to reach the Champions League knockout rounds.

Red Star Belgrade is the other side standing in the way of the Partenopei progressing from what will be a keenly contested Group C.

Though it disappointed in Europe's top club competition under Maurizio Sarri last season, finishing third behind Manchester City and Shakhtar Donetsk to drop into the Europa League, Ancelotti believes that Napoli can survive a more difficult assignment this time around.

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"There is nothing insurmountable. It is difficult, because there are three high-level teams and then there is an outsider like Red Star. There will be a special environment in Belgrade. I know what it means to play there," Ancelotti told a news conference.

"It's a difficult group, but I do not think our Italian friends in Paris, [Gianluigi] Buffon and [Marco] Verratti, will have uncorked the champagne knowing they are playing Napoli. There will be many beautiful challenges. We will play them at 100 per cent."

Turning his attention to Serie A, Ancelotti said that some of his players would find themselves rotated out of the team "to keep the group motivated".

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Napoli travels to Sampdoria on Sunday with a 100 per cent record after victories over Lazio and Milan in its opening two league games of the season, but Ancelotti indicated that he will not hesitate to change a winning team.

"If I do change some things, it’s to keep the group motivated, not because anyone deserves to play less. Fortunately, there are more than 11 players who want to get on the field and there is an option to rotate the squad a little," he said.

"When you have such a competitive squad, it makes little difference whether you play 60 or 30 minutes. For example, Dries Mertens was decisive against Milan and he only came on for the final half-hour."

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"[Marek] Hamsik is growing in his new role and I think it is his natural position. He plays in a different way to [Amadou] Diawara, as Amadou has vivacity and enthusiasm, but not the same experience and technique."

"They are both important players for us and if I can use both in the same match, I'll try to make the most of that opportunity. I have players who deserve to play and I have confidence in them, so if on the one hand it's not easy to make changes to the line-up, on the other it reassures me that I can change without lowering the quality of the team."

"There are many ways to win a football match, but the important thing is to do it as a collective. It's not hard with this squad, as I see no big egos in the side."

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