Friday November 22 2013
Benitez: Parma first, then Borussia

Rafael Benitez insists his Napoli side are purely focused on Parma and not next week’s Champions League tie at Borussia Dortmund.

The Azzurri will qualify for the knock-out stages of the European Cup if they avoid defeat in Germany, but a loss would be dangerous.

“The next game is always the most important,” the Spaniard stated on Friday. “We’re thinking about Parma and my team selections will be based on that tie and not the Dortmund one.”

Although Parma sit in mid-table, the former Liverpool boss is respectful of the threat they will carry at the Stadio San Paolo.

“The quality of Antonio Cassano is clear to everyone,” he noted. “He is a dangerous player who we will have to be aware of.

“Parma also have Jonathan Biabiany and his pace is dangerous, as well as Amauri.

“They have players who work well in the defensive phase and who are good on the counter.”

There are doubts whether Gonzalo Higuain and Marek Hamsik will start. “They have both trained really well,” Benitez added. “Higuain hasn’t looked tired to me.

“All of my players are focused and ready, then we’ll see what we do against Parma. But I have really liked what I saw in training.”

The Azzurri are third in Serie A, three points behind Juventus and four shy of Roma.

“I’ve obviously watched the 3-0 defeat to Juve again,” the tactician noted. “We gave them too much space in the opening minutes.”

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