Wednesday January 29 2014
Benitez: 'Don't jeer Insigne'

Rafa Benitez felt Napoli deserved the Coppa victory over Lazio and defended Lorenzo Insigne after a row with fans.

“Lazio showed their strength and their pace, but we deserved the win and continued to play with intensity right to the end,” Benitez told Rai Sport after the 1-0 quarter-final result.

While Jorginho hit the upright and impressed in his first Napoli start, Insigne reacted angrily to jeers from the crowd during his substitution.

“Jorginho had a good game. He is the kind of player who can help us change attitude during a match and that is important.

“Insigne is a young lad and we have to be understanding of his situation. I ask the fans that if they have complaints, to keep hold of them until the final whistle. If they want to help the players, then jeering won’t do that.”

The semi-final of the Coppa Italia will be a two-legged affair against Roma on February 5 and 12.

“Roma are a very strong side and have an advantage, as they only need to play one game per week. They are not stronger than Napoli, but it makes a huge difference preparing games in two days or in six.

“We played almost two months without Marek Hamsik and his quality is important for the side. We knew he could be a little tired after working so hard in the last two games.”

Henrique had his medical today after arriving from Palmeiras for a reported €4m.

“Nobody has told me is a Napoli player yet, so we have to wait. He is a player with quality who can play in defence or midfield, so is a versatile figure. If he becomes our player over the next few hours, then he will become important for Napoli.

“Riccardo Bigon is doing a great job and we have changed many players this season because the director has done wonderful work. We’ll wait and see what happens over the next couple of days.”

Asked about Saint-Etienne midfielder Faouzi Ghoulam, Benitez smiled and dodged the question.

“I will again say our squad is strong and if we can improve it then that’s even better. What level are we at? I’d say 76 per cent. Alright then, 77 per cent.”

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