Napoli captain Giovanni Di Lorenzo salutes sacked coach Walter Mazzarri, welcomes back Francesco Calzona and hopes the game with Barcelona ‘could change many things’ for their campaign.

The first leg in the Champions League Round of 16 tie kicks off at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona at 20.00 GMT on Wednesday.

There has barely been time to focus on the match itself, considering that yesterday Walter Mazzarri was sacked to make way for new boss Calzona, becoming their third coach of the campaign after Rudi Garcia.

“When you change coach for the third time, it means something is not working and the situation is not good,” said Di Lorenzo in his press conference.

“The squad is well aware of the situation and we know that we have to do more. We will all work with the coach to get out of a situation that we are not happy with.

“Everyone is responsible, including the players on the pitch, so we are giving our all to emerge from this situation.

“I want to thank Mazzarri, we talked and I am really sad. It is a defeat for everyone when there is a change of coach, but we are professionals and that is how we had to react, assimilating the concepts of the new boss.”

Calzona is no stranger to Napoli, having already been the assistant manager under Maurizio Sarri from 2015-18 and then under Luciano Spalletti in the 2021-22 campaign, before they won the Scudetto.

“The fact the coach already knows so many of the players accelerates the process and is good for both him and us. He arrived with great enthusiasm that he passed on from the first training session.

“As I said, nobody is happy with the situation that has developed, but there is still a season ahead of us and we are all focused on that.

“Perhaps lately we had lost some of the enthusiasm that allowed us to stand out last year. We must play with courage and no pressure, because that’s what you need on big nights like this.

“The change of coach is meant to be a turning point, that is what we all want, from the players to the fans, and we want to emerge from there together.”

Di Lorenzo was asked if he has a message to pass on to the Napoli supporters, who jeered them off the field after the 1-1 draw with Genoa at the weekend.

“There is not much we can tell them, they cheered us on to the last second, then were quite right to jeer, because they were not happy with the performance.

“I want to reassure that there was never a lack of effort from the squad, but this is football, at times you just don’t get the results. The fans deserve a great night tomorrow and so do well, in a difficult season, that could change many things.”

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