'Napoli are going to make life tough for Manchester City' - Walter Mazzarri

The Italian tactician has commented on the eve of his club's historic Champions League group stage debut, stating that they will provide a challenge for Manchester City
Napoli coach Walter Mazzarri has backed his squad to provide a stern challenge for Manchester City in the group stages of the Champions League on Wednesday.

With the two sides both making their group stage debuts in Europe's elite competition at the Etihad Stadium, Mazzarri believes his side can replicate the success they had in the domestic league, and admitted that the quality players at Manchester City cannot be allowed too many chances.

"There's no doubt about the challenge posed by the opposition but after the confidence-boosting away win at Cesena, we are determined to put up a fight," Mazzarri said according to La Gazzetta dello Sport.

Napoli gained a 3-1 away victory in the opening match of the Serie A campaign on September 10, with goals coming from Ezequiel Lavezzi, Hugo Campagnaro and Marek Hamsik.

"My players must not think about the fact that this is the Champions League or who the opponents are. We did well against Villarreal and Liverpool at grounds that are no less difficult than this one, and when we were less experienced. We can repeat that," Mazzarri beamed.

"We're here to give Manchester City a game and to make life tough for them, as we did with most teams in Italy and around Europe last year.

"Of course, with the star quality they [Manchester City] have we must be careful not to allow them too many chances, which is what happened at Cesena."

The Napoli coach also commented on the clubs history in the competition, and stated that the side can be seen to have achieved something great by reaching the group stage.

"The ranking says that we're the bottom team in this group. We haven't played in this competition for 21 years but we're on an upwards curve now.

"We can be proud of what we're doing and we'll take on City as if this were a final. They've spent a lot on transfers in recent years and brought in players with lots of international experience. Yet we finished third in the league just as they did. That's the beauty of football."

Napoli and Manchester City will also have to contend with Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich and Spanish outfit Villarreal for qualification from Group A of the Champions League.