De Laurentiis: 'Napoli should rest stars against Manchester City'

Manchester City's Champions League game with Napoli is keenly anticipated but the Serie A club's president is looking at the bigger picture.

Napoli has won eight out of eight in Serie A this season to storm to the top of the table, scoring 26 goals in the process.   -  Getty Images

Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis wants Napoli to rest key players for its mouth-watering Champions League F clash with Manchester City on Tuesday.

Maurizio Sarri's side has won eight out of eight in Serie A this season to storm to the top of the table, scoring 26 goals in the process.

City has netted 29 times to sit at the Premier League summit and its boss Pep Guardiola has talked up the prospective entertainment value of a game with Napoli, which he rates as one of the best three footballing sides in Europe.

Champions League preview

However, a key showdown with second-placed Inter is on the agenda this weekend and De Laurentiis told Gazetta dello Sport this game should perhaps take priority for stars such as Dries Mertens, Lorenzo Insigne and Marek Hamsik.

"Those players that have been compiling a lot of minutes should be rested a bit in this match to keep them fresh," he said. "The match with Inter is just as important.

"In Europe we should worry only about advancing, not winning all of the matches."

The only blemish on Napoli's season so far was a 2-1 loss at Shakhtar Donetsk in their opening group match, before getting back on track by beating Feyenoord 3-1 last time out.

Defeat in Manchester would leave them six points behind City and make any prospect of claiming top spot and a seeded place in the knockout stages remote, and De Laurentiis was keen to underline that all calls on team selection will remain in Sarri's hands.

"You've got to evaluate everything and know how to use the right strategy," he said. "I'm fortunate to have a coach who is a great strategist."

Regarding Guardiola's warm words over Napoli's form, De Laurentiis suggested they could fall into the category of pre-match mind games.

"[Guardiola] is an old wolf and he knows full well that he's got a great side," he added. "It could be an impossible match for us to win."

Support Sportstar

Dear Reader,

Support our journalism — where text and pictures intermingle so seamlessly — and help us scale up your experience as the world changes around us. Your contribution is vital to our brand of uninfluenced, boots-on-the-ground reportage that’s worth your while. Clickbait sensationalism is not for us, but editorial independence is — we owe it to you.

  Dugout videos