Rafa Benitez is impressed by Parma, building for Napoli’s future and insists they can catch Roma in second place.
It kicks off at the Stadio Tardini on Sunday at 19.45 UK time (18.45 GMT), click here for a match preview.
The momentum is building behind the Partenopei, who beat Roma and Juventus in recent outings.
“Can we get second place? All the Coaches say until it is mathematically impossible, then we all continue to believe,” said Benitez in his Press conference.
“It depends on Roma and also on us. Our objective remains second place. We have an idea of what we need in future, though it also depends on our budget. We want to build a strong squad to win silverware.
“Parma play good football and have particularly dangerous wingers. I know how to control them, but the tactical key will always be imposing our style on the game.”
Napoli and Juventus traded barbs after the 2-0 result at the San Paolo, with Beppe Marotta claiming they “looked like a provincial team with excessive euphoria” and Luigi De Laurentiis replying that the Bianconeri director was “ignorant.”
“We did what we had to do,” insisted Benitez. “We had saluted our fans at the end of many games and it was a spectacular match against the Serie A leaders. We must begin again from what we did on that night, so I am not interested in controversy.”
Despite being in third place, Napoli are still on track to set a new club record for points in a single Serie A season.
“Talking about records is normal, but they key to reaching these results will be hitting the level we were at against Roma and Juve. We need to maintain that level of attitude in every game.
“I compliment Juve and Roma, but our problem is that we always have the feeling we could’ve done better. It’s not easy for a side to change players, Coach and philosophy of football in one go. It takes time to adapt.
“We need to analyse the situation and acknowledge it has been a very positive season, yet we can do better.
“A pledge if we manage to get second place? How about we cut the hair of all the journalists present at this conference?” joked Benitez.
The Coach reiterated his claim that Juventus are favourites because of their far larger revenue compared to the other Serie A clubs.
“Revenue isn’t just important in terms of individual players, but the overall strength in depth of the squad. We follow the rules of Financial Fair Play and are working to complete the squad. I did it with Valencia, then Liverpool and it can be done at Napoli.
“All those who want Napoli to win must help us by seeing things in a positive light. When Liverpool got 82 points, after a few years we rose to 86. However, Manchester United got 90 points and for me it was already a good result to improve ourselves. It takes time and investment.
“I feel the victory over Juventus is a base to build on, as I saw my team with clear ideas and a reference point for the future.
“The most important thing is to win playing great football. The key is in the performance on the field.
“I also want to publicly thank director Riccardo Bigon, as to operate on the transfer market the way we did after losing Edinson Cavani was difficult. In January we signed another three and they are all helping well, so that’s down to Bigon. Napoli are in great shape.”
Think you know your Italian football? Share your knowledge, tips and comments to win cash prizes in OLBG's World Cup tipster competition - £10,000 to be won!