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Feb 28, 2013

Cannavaro: Napoli have nothing to fear

Fabio Cannavaro believes his former team Juventus are beatable and that his hometown club Napoli have nothing to fear when the two sides meet on Friday night.

Second-placed Napoli are looking to reduce a six-point gap Juventus hold over them at the top of Serie A and Cannavaro has full confidence that the Partenepei can emerge victorious.

"Napoli should not be afraid because the Bianconeri may be strong but they are beatable," he told Radio Kiss Kiss. "I expect a tough game because Juve never give in and they'll make it very difficult.

"Napoli must prove they have grown, they can play these games and send important signals. They are coming off some not great performances and people expect a lot. There is everything they need to do well in this match because facing Juventus really boosts your motivation."

Cannavaro, who played 58 times for Napoli at the start of his professional career, believes this match could give them the motivation to finish the season as champions.

"It should not be seen as the game of the year or the encounter that can save a season," he said. "It ought to be considered a match that can give them the fire to push forward till the end. Anything is possible at the San Paolo."

Napoli midfielder Valon Behrami has echoed the thoughts of Cannavaro and gone as far as to say that Juve are not as strong as the Partenepei, while praising coach Walter Mazzarri's preparation of the team.

"Juventus are not stronger than us and we must attack them." Behrami told the official Napoli radio station. "The crowd will give us a hand, that is for sure.

"Walter Mazzari has been great. Right now he is trying to take the tension off us as he knows this type of match provides its own motivation."

The midfielder believes this game is a "tipping point" for Napoli in understanding how far they can go and whether they will need to look ahead or over their shoulders for the rest of the season.

Behrami also draws confidence from Diego Maradona's return to Naples and the Argentine legend's urging of the team to go for victory.

"Maradona is right, we must attack Juventus," Behrami said. "He is a symbol of Napoli and his words are important as it is wonderful to know this champion is cheering us on."

He did concede, however, that Juventus' experience may give them a slight edge, adding that fans should not to be too down-hearted following a disappointing run of three games without victory.

"On paper, Juventus are not stronger than Napoli, but if we calculate their experience, then they have a slight advantage," he said. "It is also important we don't get too unrealistic, as second place is something important that is worth defending.

"I ask the fans not to forget that Napoli is doing very well and try not to get downhearted over a few recent results that weren't too positive."

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