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Tuesday August 14 2012
De La’s dream

Napoli President Aurelio de Laurentiis is full of expectation for the coming season and Dave Taylor understands why.

During the warm up before the UEFA Cup semi-final with Bayern Munich in 1989, Napoli’s Diego Maradona turned to his teammates and took out any tension they may have felt by leading them in a dance. The minute the German club’s PA blasted out ‘Live is Life’ by Opus, Diego started clapping his hands, swivelling his hips and basically bursting with bliss in front of 70,000 fans.

The feelings he shared in those glory days must have been similar to those that Napoli players felt in the Italian Super Cup, as they celebrated their two classy goals en masse. The togetherness they also displayed by later refusing to accept their medals in protest at some rather wayward refereeing was understandable. And whether you condone their actions or not the demonstration of solidarity amongst them can only be an advantage in one of the toughest seasons to call in Serie A for a while. On the other hand Juve’s no-show, after they lost to Lazio in the 1998 version, failed to help them much, as they finished sixth that season.

There is no way Aurelio de Laurentiis would be happy with that and when he took over Napoli he ignited a new fire inside the Azzurri belly and it still burns. After moving up through two divisions and last year’s classy Champions League’s performances, he also sorted out their finances. Now the President wants the Partenopei to return to that heady era when Diego and Napoli topped the League, won Cups and made an impression in Europe.

“I’m strongly motivated for the new season, the Scudetto should be everyone’s goal,” declared the President. “We will also be one of the two teams to qualify automatically for the Champions League, and we will do well in the Coppa Italia and Europa League.”

Backing his Coach Walter Mazzarri over the summer with the return of Lorenzo Insigne, De La also paid out over €30m for four excellent players in pursuit of those aims. Coincidentally the same amount he got for Ezequiel Lavezzi, which meant he balanced the books once again.

He was rewarded for this outlay as the team certainly shone in pre-season, employing a slightly different version of the 3-5-1-1 system. Starting with beating top sides like Bayern Munich, Bayer Leverkusen and Bordeaux, the Vesuviani finished by coping well with a strong Juve side for 90 minutes in China.

It’s a formation that seems to fit the players and looks to be the way forward with a strong midfield featuring an extra man, compared to the 3-4-2-1 of last year. With Gokhan Inler starting attacks from deep, flanked by Marek Hamsik and Valon Behrami, they can supply the forwards as well as provide an extra wall in front of the defence. All three are more than capable in possession and with others like Andrea Dossena, Blerim Dzemaili, Juan Zuniga, Christian Maggio and Walter Gargano, Mazzarri will be spoilt for choice in midfield.

Up front, the all-round striking capabilities of Edinson Cavani and Goran Pandev, along with Insigne and Eduardo Vargas means he will also be well covered in attack.

“I am happy with the squad, it is good enough to negate any problems,” former Sampdoria boss Mazzarri has insisted. “Of course if a player is good enough to add something extra to the squad we will attempt to bring him in. We want to get off to a good start this season and success causes self-esteem to grow as well as bringing prestigious trophies.”

Certainly, despite the disappointment of the Super Cup defeat there was enough there to see that Napoli have a lot of potential. De La has promised an addition here and there and with those plus the dynamic Hamsik, Pandev, Cavani and Behrami, surely Napoli can force the pace in the League and also please their President.

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Have your say...
In the past seasons since returning to top flight they already beat juve,milan,inter and other so called top teams......If they start picking up points they dropped last season against smaller teams then they can finish top 3 without problems..
And add one world class defender cause that is why he changed the system the defence is not yet top of the bill, but off course there are not that good defenders that can play in a back three...certainly not in italy
on the 19th August, 2012 at 10:28am
i cant wait for d season 2 begin... juat a winger is needed and then the team is complete...!!
there's going to be serious fun this time...
forza Napoli sempre per via...!!
on the 16th August, 2012 at 2:35pm
Napoli Napoli,
when will you get it right? always get our hopes up only to get whooped.
You can't only score from Counters you know...did the same against Chelsea n now Juve, and despite beating Juve in the Cup final-obviously the Scudetto celebrations didn't help their cause, they got you back on the flip side and you think you were cheated.
If you wanna play with the big boys, at least learn to play like the big boys!
I think they got a great team but I can't see them beating Juve or Milan
on the 16th August, 2012 at 4:47am
ADL isn't stupid...he bought Vargas for a reason! He knew Lavezzi was off and from what I have seen of Vargas he does have potential. As for Insigne let's see if he can do what he did in Serie B in Serie A. Forza Napoli!
on the 15th August, 2012 at 1:20pm
I know he's older, but I have a great feeling about Pandev this season. He shouldn't be seen as a "has been", but as an experienced veteran who has re-invented himself with passion. We need players who WANT to be here! Don't get me wrong, Lavezzi's brilliant playmaking will be missed, but he DID lack that eye for the target, something Pandev and Cavani DON'T lack! With Insinge off the bench and hopefully one more forward and one more winger, we can be serious about a championship! I CAN'T WAIT!
on the 15th August, 2012 at 1:01pm
The question is will Mazzari play Insigne, a budding star, or Pandev, an in-form has-been? Knowing Mazzari its Pandev.
on the 15th August, 2012 at 2:08am
Paulo ur only a napoli fan on fifa 12... if u think theyre weaker without lavezzi...isigne and vargas can replace pocho and at his age be way better. More skill in front of goal and botg under 23
on the 14th August, 2012 at 10:04pm
I am a big Napoli fan but fully disagree with this article.
Napol is weaker than last year, and Lavezzi has so far only been replaced by Gamberini and Behrami.
Not showing up for the medals is also unacceptable.
Dela needs to spend the 30mn in Lavezzi sale plus CL proceeds and bring some real stars.
We cannot rely on more counterattack football like last year. It will not work against weaker teams
on the 14th August, 2012 at 5:47pm
Good one Atillio, bet those Juventini didn't see Behrami pushed over in the penalty box either! Selective vision or what?
on the 14th August, 2012 at 2:41pm
Horribly biased article???

Thats rich coming from a juventino. If u did not see anything wrong in those 10 mins of madness then u need to go to specsavers buddy. A penalty that was dubious at most, a red card to pandev for saying " that was not offside", then sendind mazzari off, and for the cherry on the cake sending zuniga off for leaning into govinco ( great diving in the spirit of the olympics ) after zuniga had been fouled 5 seconds b4hand.

NO, ur rite mate the article is biased!

NAPOLI
on the 14th August, 2012 at 12:28pm
Can't understand how anyone can defend Napoli's behaviour in this match. The played like thugs and were rightly punished. Juve dominated the play, as Napoli sat back and defended with eight players, only trying to counterattack. Their goals came from poor defending, typical of a pre-season game. Only reason for them to stay in the locker room and boycott the award ceremony would have been out of shame. ADL lacks class and so does the club.
on the 14th August, 2012 at 11:58am
Great article. We do have a chance for the league but I hope we don't miss Lavezzi too much and that Insigne lives up to his potential. Love him or hate him ADL has certainly done a great job with Napoli. Forza Napoli!!
on the 14th August, 2012 at 11:54am
Dave....you went easy on juve there! Farcical that super cup final was. Forza dela and Forza napoli
on the 14th August, 2012 at 10:49am
lol at the anonymous post 1058. Its an opinion piece, get a grip of yourself
on the 14th August, 2012 at 10:36am
Article is well put and straight to the point, Italian teams need to look towards Juventus And Napoli's as an example, Build A Structure, Strong And Hungry Squad, Relationship With The Fans, Depth And Good Finances, And Above All Create Football To Put Series A Above All Other Leagues Again, As Much As i dislike ADL You Got to give the man his well deserved credit, This Is The Two Strongest Italian Teams In Series A, I Hope Napoli Can Continue Their Display Of Great Football, But Forza Juve ;)
on the 14th August, 2012 at 10:14am
"The togetherness they displayed..." De Laurentiis told them not to go out. And classy goals? Both were defensive howlers, and Cavani only scored because Buffon was unlucky and slipped when he was resetting himself.

The refereeing also wasn't "wayward": it's a miracle Napoli didn't have somebody sent off before for the way they were playing. I've never seen Giovinco getting treatment like that. Napoli always played the man before the ball.

Horribly biased article.
on the 14th August, 2012 at 9:58am

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