Napoli will attempt to beat Benfica, not draw on Tuesday - Maurizio Sarri
Napoli coach Maurizio Sarri says his team are in Portugal to beat Benfica on Tuesday night, even if a draw would be enough to take them through to the knockout stages of the Champions League.
The Azzurri have the luxury of two results at their disposal to reach the last 16 of Europe's elite club competition, but only one result would guarantee them top spot in the group. They would even go through by losing if Besiktas fail to win their game against Dynamo Kiev, but Sarri says his team must only have one thing on their mind.
"We are not a team who can manage 90 minutes, speculating about a result in another game," Sarri said at a news conference in Lisbon.
"We are going to give everything to make it through, and we feel like we deserve it."
While the scoreline in the group's other game will inevitably be conveyed to Sarri and his players, the Napoli coach does not want to give any thought to Dynamo giving his team a hand.
"This is already a game so delicate psychologically that we could damage our game by thinking of other things," he said. "If we think we can get through with a draw, then we run risks. If we forget that, then we can play a real game. If we don't want to be distracted tomorrow night, we've got to go out there and think about winning the group."
With Benfica bound to have the same approach to the game, Sarri admitted that all his tactical preparation could go out of the window.
"One of the two teams have got to take risks and make the game less tactical," he said. "It's obvious that, being practically a knockout game, the final 20 minutes could see things become a little unusual."
That could be when a substitute could make the difference, although Sarri has a headache about whether it is wise to leave a player such as Lorenzo Insigne on the bench to be the man who could make a telling impact.
"I need somebody who can make me a difference from the bench so if he can do that, then he can do that -- but I'd like you to explain it to him," said Sarri ahead of a game he refuses to consider the biggest of his coaching career.
"My thought is that I am going to have even bigger games to come -- that is how I think about things," he added.
Ben Gladwell reports on Serie A, the Italian national team and the Bundesliga for ESPN FC, UEFA and the Press Association. @UEFAcomBenG.