August 21, 2017
Dante: “If we score…”
Following the training session on the eve of the match at the Allianz Riviera, the Nice captain spoke to a group of French and Italian journalists at the press conference.
There we go, the day has arrived, it’s the match that you need to win to get into the Champions League.
Yes, these are matches in which you need to add all of the ingredients and to be at our best in all areas, especially in our concentration. We all need to at our best and to work together. These are special matches, it’s down to us to give our all so that we don’t concede and try to score. The most important thing is to play our game and to want to win the match, knowing that it will be very important not to concede.
“Show them the way”
What role do players like Balotelli, Sneijder and yourself play in this type of match?
These are matches in which we need to take on our responsibilities. We know a little bit the level of the Champions League, and the direction you need to take, even if it isn’t only the three of us. We need to take things in hand, especially when there is a bit of nervousness and worry. At the end of the day, the squad is aware of what it needs to do. But it’s down to us to show them the way, in order to succeed tomorrow.
“Mario is very motivated”
It will be a rather special match for Mario Balotelli, who will face an Italian side. How do you see him in the lead up to the game?
He is very motivated, that’s for sure. However, in his head, the most important thing, is to help Nice, not the Italian media or the national side. Those are secondary objectives. He is very concentrated and wants to help us. He is training well and is coming back well: we all hope that he will play well tomorrow and that he will help us qualify.
The probable absence of Mertens could be a positive for you?*
It won’t necessarily be a positive for us, even though he is a very very good player and in great form. The strength of this Napoli side, is their team spirit. They found the way to adapt to our system in the first leg. Their intelligence in their movement, their passing, that’s the most important thing.
“Don’t need much time to get on with Sneijder”
What can you tell us about what Wesley Sneijder brings?
He is a great player, with a huge career. What interests us is that he wants to play football, to take pleasure from it and wants to give his all one year before the World Cup. He works hard in training, he really wants to progress physically and tactically with us. With intelligent players like Wesley, we don’t need much time to get onto their wave length.
How do you feel 24 hours before this type of fixture?
We can imagine that the people of Nice are only looking towards this match. If we score, the stadium will be on fire. However, on the pitch, we need to remain calm and intelligent. We are playing against an intelligent side, who have experience at this level. Despite the euphoria that there will be in the stands tomorrow, on the pitch we must remain calm, whatever happens in the game.
*Having picked up a knock to his foot, the Belgian forward is in doubt according to the Italian press, but appears in the group of players called-up by Maurizio Sarri.