By 90Min
August 16, 2017

Napoli head coach Maurizio Sarri has called on his club to do their city proud and qualify for the Champions League group stage. 

They welcome Nice to the Stadio San Paolo tonight in the first leg of their play-off tie. Speaking at his press conference yesterday, Sarri said: "We need to get through -- we are representing a city worthy of the Champions League and we want to get them in there." 

Maurizio Lagana/GettyImages

Italian sides have a poor record in this play-off round with AC Milan the last club to come through it in 2013. Roma lost 4-1 on aggregate to Porto last season, Lazio were knocked out by Bayer Levurkusen in 2015 while Napoli themselves were dispatched by Athletic Bilbao in 2014. 


Sarri believes that Italian sides are simply not ready for a game this important at this stage of the season: "Facts show that it's a difficult moment for us Italian clubs, and now we got drawn against a strong team -- one who beat Ajax -- who were in the Europa League final just a few months ago." 

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"This is an extremely difficult game for us, especially given the time of the year." 

Their opponents Nice will be without Mario Balotelli but are a strong side and will fancy their chances of knocking Napoli out of the Champions League. The Italians are hoping to build on their run to the round of 16 last season and prove it wasn't a fluke, 

Striker Lorenzo Insigne said: "We've continued to work on the errors we made. We were beaten by Real Madrid, but I think we played a great game and showed we can hold our own at these levels"  

"Now we want to prove again that we deserve to be in the Champions League."

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