Barcelona head coach Ernesto Valverde claims that Napoli will be a difficult opponent in the Champions League last 16.
Since it is the moment of UCL, the Catalans visit San Paolo for the first knock-out stage of the competition. As a result of Monday’s draw in Nyon, it unifies Barca with the Serie A side with the first leg on February 25.
Actually, Napoli has been enduring a rough season locally, with their recent 2-1 loss at home to Parma on Saturday. Now leave them in eighth place, with 18 points off leaders Inter and Juventus.
Moreover, their poor league performances led to the dismissal of Carlo Ancelotti as head coach, replacing him with Gennaro Gattuso.
Napoli is the only team to have beaten holders Liverpool in any competition this season, finishing Champions League Group E unbeaten.
Consequently, Valverde is not toying with the trip to Italy, he understands that they are a great team. And is fierce in their game plans and styles.
Meanwhile, the Spanish manager is preparing for the El Clasico, usually between the LaLiga giants Real Madrid and Barcelona.
After both Spanish sides drew their previous league matches respectively. Also struggling with the same 35 points, having Barca topping on goal differences.
Valverde, however, thinks the Catalans need to be smart if they are to progress to the quarter-finals. Even though his side beat the little Donkeys 4-0 in their recent meeting in pre-season
However, Gattuso has the determination to lead Napoli strongly and will ensure the tie brings the best of them.