Friday May 2 2014
Benitez: Final won’t determine season

Rafa Benitez says the outcome of tomorrow’s Coppa Italia final will not determine whether or not Napoli's season has been a success.

Speaking at his pre-match Press conference ahead of the match against Fiorentina, the Spanish tactician acknowledged the importance of the Partenopei winning the trophy.

However, he added that even if they don’t, important progress will still have been made this term.

“Winning the Coppa Italia would be important for the growth of Napoli,” Benitez told reporters. “The season has been very positive with a new formation and new players.

“It’s pointless to look at Juventus, who have beaten their own points record.

“Playing in a final is always difficult. But we and Fiorentina both like playing football and it will be a good match.

“Tomorrow’s match will not decide the value of the season. The lion’s share of the work has already been done.

"We really want to win, but in the event of a defeat it wouldn't change my outlook on the season. If we do win it will be even better, but if we don't nothing will change as far as my future is concerned.

“On the pitch it will be 11 against 11, both of the teams have quality and play good football.

“Mentally we are ready, but out on the pitch anything can happen. When we left Napoli we felt the fans’ passion. We want to give them great joy and we need to show their passion out on the pitch.

“Having heart is crucial, but in these sorts of games it is the head that makes the difference. Italian football needs to learn to be more positive.

“Do we want revenge from the League match? No, we were playing with 10 men and we still managed to put in a great performance.

“We need to respect Fiorentina, whichever team has more determination will win. We are not favourites.

“Fiorentina have studied our team. Character and determination will matter more than the line-up tomorrow.”

Benitez was then asked about the fitness of star striker Gonzalo Higuain, as well as his team’s audience with the Pope this morning.

“Higuain is feeling good, he is training without any problems. We will see how he reacts on the pitch tomorrow. He and Hamsik can make the difference on the pitch, they are a help to their teammates.

“I was very happy to meet the Pope. It gave me great emotion!”

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