Unai Emery says he has a lot of respect for Napoli and Carlo Ancelotti, but says his team are not short of confidence ahead of tomorrow night’s Europa League clash at the Emirates.
The last time the two sides met in Europe was in the Champions League in 2013 when the Gunners ran out 2-0 winners with goals from Mesut Ozil and Olivier Giroud.
They are, by some distance, the best team we’ve faced so far in this season’s competition, and the Spaniard acknowledged that in the build-up to the game.
Asked what he felt the chances of qualification were, he replied, “I think 50/50. Napoli has a big history like us.
“Now they are second in the table after Juventus and making a big difference with other important teams. They are playing very well.
“They have come from the Champions League but from a strong group with Liverpool. They were very competitive in this group. I know it’s going to be very difficult for us but we have confidence.
“We know we need to be very consistent in two matches, with big preparation and with respect to them. Also, we want to trust and believe in ourselves.
“We want to work hard, prepare hard and play hard.”
This is a fixture that wouldn’t be out of place in the Champions League, indeed the Serie A outfit began this season in that competition but were bumped down into the secondary competition after a disappointing group stage.
“This match is a big level, a big-level match, and the level we want to play. It’s a very big test for us in this competition.
“We want to play the best teams and Napoli now is one of the best teams, with the best players and also a very experienced coach.”