Rafa Benitez has made clear that Napoli will not be changing their formation or philosophy because of poor results against some smaller sides.
The Partenopei have dropped points this term against the likes of Sassuolo, Cagliari, Bologna, Chievo and Livorno and find themselves 17 points behind League leaders Juventus and six behind second place Roma.
However, ahead of facing the Giallorossi at home this Sunday evening, Napoli’s Coach has outlined that changing the team’s approach is not the route to solving their small-club struggles.
“Barcelona have played with the same formation and with the same philosophy for years, why should we change ours?” considered Benitez in an interview with the Corriere del released in full today.
“I do not think it is the right thing to do. Instead what is right is pursuing an idea in view of a final objective.
“Today I have a team that plays well against Dortmund, Arsenal and Roma, but we cannot always do so.
“We know our faults and we are working on them. Fans must have the patience to wait and think bigger.
“Separate formations for Serie A and for Europe? You would need to have lots of money to do so, in spite of Financial Fair Play.
“When you buy players you do so thinking about their functionality within the system and the strongest teams in Europe play with the 4-2-3-1.
“The players must be given security and with two games a week you cannot change things.”
Benitez considered this weekend’s particular test against Rudi Garcia’s men.
“For us, it is very important. Second place is possible, but we must be convinced that we are on the right path.
“Unless we get there, there is third place. I have heard that next year we should be fighting for the Scudetto. It is not that the team should be stronger, but without haste and without a break.
“The difference to Roma? At this time it is in the goals conceded. But we are a team that attacks and we cannot change our philosophy.
“We must, however, be less unbalanced and find equilibrium. Sometimes we succeed and are also good, but between [Roma’s] 10 goals conceded and [Napoli’s] 29 there are individual mistakes.
“The difference to Juventus? When the revenue at a club allows you to have an important squad, you can play at a higher level.
“A broad and strong squad allows you to play with the team a little. And to win.”
It is a similar view the Coach has when comparing Italian football to other Leagues he has worked in.
“Abroad there are teams with a greater revenue that can afford more competitive squads.
“Then, we saw Spain against Italy. You can say everything and more about the physical condition [of the teams], but the truth is that Spain is a team of the highest level and the difference lies in the quality of the players.”
“We are working with the club to prepare for the future. We had another meeting with Bigon and De Laurentiis and the goal is not to win the game on Sunday, but to build for the future, to be at the top for many years.
“We are creating a solid structure to maintain this level for 25 years and this is a path that is being built in line with the club. It is clear, however, that assessments will be made according to our parameters.
“De Laurentiis has done important things in recent years, but now has an historic opportunity - to maintain the players that we have, with the stadium and with the sporting facilities.”