Saturday July 20 2013
Benitez: 'No Napoli pressure'

Rafa Benitez believes Napoli can have the Scudetto and Champions League, “but there’s no pressure to win straight away.”

The former Liverpool, Inter and Chelsea tactician took over from Walter Mazzarri this summer and is enacting wholesale changes at the Stadio San Paolo.

“It is not difficult to keep Napoli in the Scudetto hunt, as you just need to believe in your work and have passion,” he told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

“I already beat Juventus when I was at Liverpool and that was a satisfying moment. They have the advantage now and there are other competitive squads, but we have to stay in the race.

“Milan are still strong, Roma have quality, Lazio are organised and with Mario Gomez Fiorentina are aiming high.

“President Aurelio De Laurentiis told me we can’t have everything in one month... I can even not win this year, so there’s no pressure to win straight away. He is a very intelligent person and respects the role of the professional. We have a good rapport and he understands immediately what I mean.

“We are changing the whole structure of the team, which is a risk, but are certain that by working hard we’ll do well. In Naples I have found the passion of Spain and the enthusiasm of the Liverpool fans.”

The Partenopei have already spent big on the transfer market, but with Edinson Cavani sold to PSG they are targeting a centre-forward.

“We are looking for good players at the right price, regardless of nationality. Having said that, it’s clear that to compete at a certain level we need players with experience and international quality. I see Lorenzo Insigne behind the striker in a 4-2-3-1. He only wants to start from the left, but I think on the right he’d be just as unpredictable.

“We will certainly sign two centre-forwards, one who is more of an anchor and another with greater movement.”

This is Benitez’s second foray into Serie A, as he parted company with Inter by mutual consent after just six months in December 2010.

“Am I seeking revenge on Inter? I say 100 per cent no. Even if they told me they’d buy players and didn’t, then sold Mario Balotelli to raise funds. I hold no grudges.

“I just remember that in five months I won two trophies and a Club World Cup they had been without for years. Now I’ve turned the page and Napoli is a challenge that looks far into the future.”

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