Napoli boss Gennaro Gattuso ready for Camp Nou showdown

‘We will buy helmets and armour’: Napoli boss Gennaro Gattuso ready for Nou Camp bombardment after holding Barcelona to a draw in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie

  • Napoli drew 1-1 against Barcelona in their Champions League last-16 first leg
  • Dries Mertens opened the scoring before Barca’s Antoine Griezmann equalised
  • The Serie A side largely stifled Lionel Messi and are very much still in the tie
  • Gennaro Gattuso is adamant his team can progress to the quarter-finals  

Gennaro Gattuso believes his side can pull off a shock when Napoli travel to Barcelona in three weeks for their Champions League last-16 second leg. 

The Serie A side held Barcelona to a 1-1 draw at the San Paolo on Tuesday, with Dries Mertens giving the hosts the lead after 30 minutes before Antoine Griezmann equalised for Barca in the 57th minute. 

And after midfielder Arturo Vidal was sent off late on for the visitors, Gattuso insists Napoli can knock out Lionel Messi and Co on March 18 at the Nou Camp. 

Napoli boss Gennaro Gattuso believes his side can beat Barcelona in the Nou Camp 

Antoine Griezmann celebrates his goal for Barcelona last night with captain Lionel Messi

‘Nothing is over for us when we’re playing the last 16 in the Champions League, not even when we play cards,’ Gattuso said after the game. 

 ‘We know the difficulties we are going through. We will buy helmets and armour.

‘We will get all the necessary [tools] and will play the next game. Nothing is over.’

It was Gattuso’s first game in charge of Napoli in Europe – the former AC Milan midfielder took over in December after Carlo Ancelotti was sacked following the final group-stage victory against Genk. 

Dries Mertens (L) celebrates his opening goal for Napoli with captain Lorenzo Insigne (R)

Gattuso was pleased with the display tactically but was disappointed with the goal conceded

The 42-year-old said he was satisfied with the performance, albeit disappointed with the manner in which they conceded. 

‘I am disappointed because we made kind of a mistake defensively and they hit us,’ he added. ‘For sure we could do better. 

‘There is some disappointment, we suffered but the team did almost everything right from a tactical point of view.

‘I am happy for this, perhaps we could have done better passing. This is the only regret.’

Barca’s main threat Messi couldn’t score in his first ever appearance at the San Paolo stadium

Napoli return to action at home to Torino on Saturday in Serie A, before they host Inter Milan next Thursday with a 1-0 lead in the Coppa Italia semi-finals. 

Barcelona, meanwhile, travel to the Spanish capital to face fierce rivals Real Madrid in El Clasico on Sunday. 

As if the game itself wasn’t significant enough, the pair are neck-and-neck in La Liga, with Barca currently top by a single point.  

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