Eusebio Di Francesco admits Roma-Napoli is “fundamental for those who have Scudetto ambitions”.
The two sides meet at the Olimpico this weekend, and the Giallorossi Coach knows just how big an occasion it is.
“It’s not a play-off for the role of anti-Juve,” Di Francesco told reporters as he attended the Festival del Calcio.
“Saturday’s game against Napoli has a special flavour though. It’s fundamental for those who have Scudetto ambitions. So it’s not a play-off but…”
Di Francesco’s Sassuolo drew twice with Napoli last season, and they beat Maurizio Sarri’s side in his first season with the Partenopei…
“That was a tactically different Napoli though. They played 4-3-1-2, with a more direct style. The Sarri rescaled everything.
“He was fortunate enough to have a club behind him who gave him time to develop his ideas. It started badly, but they waited. Now Napoli can play with their eyes closed.
“They build the game from one side of the pitch and finish in the other, like the ‘weak side’ in basketball.
“Football and basketball have things in common. Man marking for example. [Gian Piero] Gasperini’s Atalanta exalt individual duels, the winner is whoever wins the most.
“I prefer duels for zones on the pitch, but the principle is the same. The strength of Sarri’s project is the bonds on the left and the right, Napoli never flatten their lines.”