Saturday August 24 2013
Benitez relishes Napoli enthusiasm

Rafa Benitez fired up Napoli ahead of their debut with Bologna. “Juventus are Scudetto favourites, but favourites don’t always win.”

The Coach is at his second Serie A experience, though the first with Inter lasted only six months. Did he sense a big difference between the two stints?

“My Italian is a little better now,” he grinned. “I hope this enthusiasm I feel at Napoli can continue for a long time. I am very motivated.”

Napoli open their season against Bologna, a side that was able to shock them last season in Serie A and knocked them out of the Coppa Italia. Click here for a match preview.

“The most important thing is that Napoli play well, so that will force our opponents to worry. I won’t give hints on the line-up, as all the players need to be kept on their toes. I will only tell them who starts 10 minutes before the game.

“I don’t know yet who will start, but we have a strong side with Lorenzo Insigne, Goran Pandev, Marek Hamsik, Jose Maria Callejon and Dries Mertens all available to start behind the striker.

“We have two goalkeepers who provide guarantees and also have quality players in defence. I don’t like talking about the transfer market, but I will say we chose Duvan Zapata to help him grow alongside Gonzalo Higuain. He is perfect for us and the right age to develop.”

Juventus won the Scudetto for two years running, but Napoli have now reinforced and are genuine title challengers.

“Juve are the favourites because they won the last two, as well as signing Carlos Tevez and Fernando Llorente. It’s only normal everyone says Juve are favourites, but the favourites don’t always win.

“Roma reinforced, Fiorentina signed Mario Gomez, Inter won’t have the Champions League to worry about. Milan and Juve are strong. We’re all nominated, so we’ll see in the end who gets the Oscar.”

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