Wednesday November 6 2013
Benitez: 'Proud of Napoli comeback'

Rafa Benitez was pleased with the Napoli fightback against Marseille, although qualification is still very complicated.

“Clearly for us winning this game and reaching nine points was very positive and a Coach has to be satisfied,” he told Sky Sport Italia after the 3-2 victory.

“Could we have done better? Yes. I liked the way we reacted to going behind very much and with the third goal we could’ve scored a fourth.

“I think winning three of the opening four Champions League games was very good for a club like ours.”

Napoli are joint top with Arsenal on nine points, followed by Borussia Dortmund on six and Marseille zero.

Paradoxically, the Partenopei will qualify automatically with a draw in Germany thanks to head-to-head results, but if they lose then even a victory over Arsenal might not be enough.

“Clearly if we get a result in Dortmund, then we’ve qualified. Arsenal have shaken things up a bit in the group, but we need to keep winning, that remains the same.

“A draw in Dortmund would qualify us from a very difficult group. It’s so strange that some teams are practically qualified with nine points and we could go out with 12.

“We won this game amid difficulties, fought back and showed character, which is all positive for me.”

Benitez surprised with some of his selections, choosing Goran Pandev and Blerim Dzemaili ahead of Marek Hamsik and Valon Behrami.

“We did not think about Juventus. Behrami had a bit of a twinge, so we didn’t want to risk it, while Pandev and Hamsik are similar to me in their roles behind the striker. They have quality and can play the ball between the lines, then assist or score goals. Pandev was fresher and I think he did well, which was not easy because we gave away the ball too much.”

The defence once again looked like the weak spot, conceding two goals against bottom of the group Marseille.

“We lost players like Giandomenico Mesto and Juan Zuniga, who had got to really know their teammates. The defence still needs time together to develop that rapport, so we don’t have the right balance yet, but we are improving.”

Gonzalo Higuain popped up with a brace to secure the 3-2 victory at the San Paolo.

“A centre-forward who can make the difference is very important and if he takes the chances we create, it brings confidence to the whole squad.”

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