Napoli's Maurizio Sarri vows to be 'bold' in attack at Real Madrid

Maurizio Sarri says his only question for Wednesday night's Champions League clash with Real Madrid is whether to play three or four forwards, adding that the only thing he will not tolerate from his side is fear.

The Napoli coach is not letting the occasion of arguably the biggest game of his coaching career get the better of him as he prepares to lead his side out at the Champions League holders' Estadio Santiago Bernabeu home, and he expects the same from his team.

That means parking the bus is not an option, with attack his chosen form of defence.

"You've got to be bold," he said at a news conference in Madrid. "We risk [losing] no matter how we play, and certainly if we play a fearful game here it would be counterproductive, so we are going to be as bold as we can.

"We come here to play our football. I've said to the team what I've said to you, that we have a side which is starting to grow in terms of mentality. Now they need to show something in terms of their personality, starting tomorrow.

"The only performance I would not accept is a fearful one. If we are closed for 90 minutes, it has to be because our opponents force us to be closed for 90 minutes and not because we are scared of sticking our heads out."

Sarri will lead by example by not showing any fear in his team selection.

"The only doubt I have is whether I play with three men up front or with four," he said. "I have no other doubts. I will play the most attack-minded team possible, at the same time having the guarantees that we can defend in the best way.

"It's not like we can defend with just two men -- we need to defend as a team and keep the fury of Real away from our box. We've got to defend with 11 men anyway, so we might as well field the most attack-minded team possible."

Wednesday's game is Napoli's biggest since their last round of 16 tie with Chelsea in 2012. For Sarri, it is perhaps the biggest of a career which started almost 27 years ago at Stia, in the Province of Arezzo, Tuscany.

He would be lucky to lead his team out in front of 100 spectators back then, never mind the 80,000 expected on Wednesday night, but he will not be fazed by what he says he has earned step by step, league by league, club by club.

"For me, it has been gratifying to have had a long career starting from the bottom," he said. "It's been educational, particularly because certain levels teach you more and make you grow more. I think it's a path which, generalising, everybody should do, but then there are big exceptions."

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane is one of them, winning the Champions League after only a few months of his first major coaching job, but Sarri says Pep Guardiola has a lot to answer for with his success at Barcelona.

"Certainly Guardiola, who I think is the best coach in circulation at the moment, did some damage without meaning to, because what he achieved in what was his first coaching role has convinced other clubs to follow suit and this has left lots of young people who could have become great coaches without a chance," Sarri said.

"But this is a generalisation and I'm not mentioning names. There are exceptions, as Guardiola has shown."

Sarri has learnt a lot over his 27 years in coaching to know how big a factor motivation can be, which is why he is going to ask for a hand from a Napoli legend.

Diego Maradona is residing in the same hotel as the Napoli team in Madrid and Sarri has called on the Argentinian to make an appearance in the next 24 hours to make his job that little bit easier.

"We've not seen Maradona yet but I hope he's got time to say a few words for the team before the game," Sarri said. "When you have a legend telling you that you can play a good game, it is like extra fuel. So I hope he finds some time to talk to the team."