Napoli have two of the most important matches they've faced in a long time coming up, as they have to beat Athletic Bilbao over two legs to advance to the Champions League group stage, an achievement vital to Napoli's goals and to their financial well-being. That could make the squad understandably nervous, but according to Gokhan Inler the players are anything but.
"It's unfortunate that it fell like this," the Swiss international said, "but there will be two important matches that we will approach without fear. Napoli have had many players involved in the World Cup, it means that the squad is good and we can go through [to the group stage] at the expense of Bilbao."
That kind of confidence will be key in what appears on paper to be the toughest matchup of all the Playoff Round ties. If that confidence leads to success, this tie could wind up being used as a springboard to bigger and better things for the season, as Inler intimated when talking about the goals that both he and Napoli have for the upcoming season.
"The word 'scudetto' is a bit special. It's a difficult goal to achieve, but we have a squad with many good players and we can still improve a lot. Every game is crucial for us. [T]he dream for a player of an important team will always be the title. This is my fourth year here in Naples, and that means something. [I will] certainly continue to do my best for the team, because I want to continue to grow and win with this club. "
As we've talked about a number of times this summer, this is a huge season for Napoli. A Scudetto seems more within reach now than it has been in a long time, and while it certainly won't be an easy task this is a squad capable of achieving that dream. Hopefully this season is the first in a long run of sustained success for Napoli; if it is, players like Inler will play a huge role in that.