Napoli have been on an incredible roll lately, with a series of huge wins over big opponents vaulting them from flirting with the relegation zone to three points out of first place over the last five weeks or so. For the last few weeks, there's been some murmuring about Napoli maybe being a contender for the Serie A title, but after beating Fiorentina on Sunday, the top team in the table, that scudetto murmuring has become an roar of people declaring Napoli potential title favorites.
Know who's not listening to that talk yet, though? Napoli themselves, especially their manager, Maurizio Sarri.
I am a realist. I know we are fourth or fifth in the table, so the rest is dreams. It’s right for the fans to dream, but as professionals we have to focus on work.
It’s a marathon of 38 kilometers and we’re only 8 kilometers in, so anyone who thinks he’s already won after 8km is mad.
It’s very difficult to compare this season with the last. It’s true the foundations are the same, but we have brought in six or seven new players and sometimes elements are outside our control that can influence the performance of a team.
-Source: Sky Sport Italia
Translation via Football Italia
Frankly, it's hard to argue with anything that Sarri says here. We're not even a quarter of the way through the season yet -- it's far too early to declare Napoli a scudetto favorite yet. Yes, things have been exciting lately, but there's still so much season left to go -- anything and everything can still happen.
Sarri also praised the quality of Marek Hamsik so far this season, calling him one of Europe's best midfielders. Interestingly, he also remarked on how Hamsik seems better "psychologically" than he was last season, perhaps a subtle dig on how much happier that Hamsik and the squad as a whole seem this season compared to how they were under Rafa Benitez.
Either way, Sarri has his players focused and playing extremely well. If he can keep them that way and getting successful results in their upcoming stretch of schedule featuring some of the more "provincial" sides in Serie A -- a group of teams Napoli have all too often stumbled against in recent years -- maybe that title talk might start to just just a little more real.