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Sunday March 30 2014
Benitez: 'Napoli stronger on the night'

Rafa Benitez reiterated Juventus still have more “strength in depth, but with a starting XI anything can happen.”

The Partenopei ended Juve’s 22-round unbeaten run with a 2-0 victory, although there are still 17 points separating them in the Serie A table.

“No performance is ever perfect. It was tonight a top level game against a top level team. I said the squad would make the difference over a season, but in the starting XI anything can happen,” Benitez told Sky Sport Italia.

“More than motivation against the smaller sides, we need the same level of concentration and intensity that we showed today. It’s not easy, as we don’t have as much strength in depth as Juventus and it becomes even tougher when you see Roma ahead of us aren’t making any mistakes.

“It was key to have possession, which in the first half was remarkable as Juve only had 38 per cent. We could’ve scored more, but by keeping possession we ensured Juve couldn’t hurt us.

“We know that we can’t change anything now. We played many games at a high level and it’s tough to maintain that level throughout the season without remarkable strength in depth, especially when it’s a Champions League game followed by a less important fixture.

“This step up in mentality is what we need to reach the level of a side like Juve. A Coach must try to keep that intensity up, but it requires time and experienced players who are prepared to sit on the bench. Today Tevez wasn’t playing, so Osvaldo and Vucinic were ready.

“This is a winning squad that can cover all areas, which again is why I mentioned the revenue of the two clubs.”

Paulo Henrique arrived in January and has been an impressive addition, providing more balance to the side as a right-back.

“We are talking about a centre-back, which is his main role. When he is close to our area he has the tendency to come back and help. He has experience and is strong in the air, which was very useful against Llorente tonight.”

Roma boss Rudi Garcia said today he wanted Napoli to win, but will he regret that now?

“I think Garcia has the same mentality as we do, that he is targeting Juve just as we are targeting Roma. Teams must always aim higher.”

Benitez snapped at Jose Mourinho this week and was asked what he felt seeing Chelsea lose to Crystal Palace with Liverpool top of the Premier League table.

“Chelsea? Nothing. My family is at Liverpool and my friends, but at the moment I have to focus on Napoli. The atmosphere and the fans are very similar. The big difference is that the stands are closer to the pitch and the players really feel that passion.”

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