Rafa Benitez admits Napoli “feel the importance of this game” against Juventus and snapped at Jose Mourinho. “He talks too much.”
It’s third against first in Serie A at the Stadio San Paolo on Sunday at 19.45 UK time, click here for a match preview.
“You can feel the importance of the game here,” said the Coach in a Press conference.
“Juve are strong and everyone wants to win the match. There are three important points up for grabs that would allow us to achieve our objective.”
There is a 20-point difference between them in the Serie A table and Benitez blamed cash concerns.
“I didn’t expect there to be such a big gap between us and Juve, but a lot depends on the squads and Juve have the best strength in depth.
“Juve have a winning mentality, but they needed time to achieve that. It’s also true that €30m revenue allows you to buy the best players in the world. That too is a winning mentality.
“They have a squad that allows them to always compete for silverware. Napoli mustn’t be a club who focus on winning a competition once every 10 years. We need to keep improving, year by year.
“Our objective is to catch Roma in second place. If we beat Juve, then we’ll be closer to that target. Obviously, if you have injuries and various problems, then it becomes difficult. We want to give our team a precise identity and the fans will help us in that.
“I love to feel the passion of the fans for this game, as it fires everyone up. We must reach a stage where we can play games like this on a similar level to our opponents.
“The squad is having a good season, but Roma and Juve are doing better than we are. In order to go for the Scudetto we need more quality and belief. We have lacked that winning mentality.”
When it came to discussing tactics, Benitez preferred to remain vague.
“I don’t want to say too much because Antonio Conte is listening! I don’t like talking about systems, as the difference is made by players who understand football. We must do everything well in order to beat a team doing spectacular work.
“We can beat anyone. Don’t forget when we beat Borussia Dortmund and Arsenal, they were top of their Leagues. Roma were in great form when facing us, yet we beat them twice.”
This week Chelsea manager Mourinho said Juve shouldn’t consider winning the Europa League a success, just as Benitez did last year, because the team was built to win the Champions League.
“He talks too much, whereas I like to let facts do the talking. At Liverpool I knocked his Chelsea out of the Champions League when we had half his money.”