October 31, 2017 / 8:56 PM / 17 days ago

Napoli coach warns of City's devastating impact

MILAN (Reuters) - Napoli coach Maurizio Sarri has warned his team of the “devastating” manner in which Champions League opponents Manchester City stun their rivals with early goals.Sarri, whose own side conceded twice in the opening quarter of an hour in their first meeting on the way to a 2-1 defeat two weeks ago, jokingly asked if Wednesday’s Group C match could start in the 21st minute.

FILE PHOTO - Soccer Football - Serie A - S.S.C. Napoli vs Inter Milan - Stadio San Paolo, Naples, Italy - October 21, 2017 Inter Milan coach Luciano Spalletti with Napoli coach Maurizio Sarri before the match REUTERS/Ciro De Luca

“We have to try to push them out into deep water, otherwise they are likely to be one or two goals ahead after 30 minutes,” he told reporters on Tuesday.“They have a devastating force of impact on matches and they have scored so many of their goals in the first 20 minutes. Their matches which I have seen have all been over by the 70th minute.”The Premier League side have scored 35 goals in their opening 10 league games and eight in three Champions League matches. They top Group F with nine points from three games.

Sarri singled out goalkeeper Ederson as City’s ”most dangerous“ player, saying the Brazilian’s pinpoint passing often set them straight on the attack. ”I’m being serious, because he didn’t miss a single ball he played out from the back in the first match. He made 50 passes to his team mates, got them all right and by-passed our pressing.“They deserve great credit for what they did in the first match, no-one has escaped our pressing like that.

“Nobody is unbeatable. But they’re the best team in Europe, led by the best coach in Europe,” he added.

Although City only need a draw to seal their round-of-16 place with two games to spare, coach Pep Guardiola said his side would play for three points.

”Why play for a draw when we can play for a win?“ he said. ”We have a big, big challenge. There are moments we will have to defend like never before and I will see how the team react.”

“Obviously it’s always difficult to play away in these stadiums but I‘m very honoured to be here as a coach in this stadium,” he added. “There is no fear, just a lot of respect for the way Napoli play.”

Reporting by Brian Homewood, editing by Ed Osmond and Toby Davis

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