Sunday February 16 2014
Benitez hits back at Inter

Rafa Benitez praised Napoli’s performance against Sassuolo and added another chapter in the row with Inter.

The Partenopei gave themselves a more comfortable cushion in third place this weekend, as Fiorentina lost at home to Inter while they beat Sassuolo 2-0.

“If we see a team playing with this level of intensity despite it being the third game in eight days, then I can only be satisfied,” he told Sky Sport Italia.

“Of course we can always improve. Marek Hamsik is sharper now and has more match fitness, so we’re starting to see his quality emerge too.

“We improved in defending because Raul Albiol and Federico Fernandez communicated more with the midfielders and wide men to keep the team tight.”

Gonzalo Higuain went off after suffering a knock to his back and Benitez wouldn’t confirm his availability in the Europa League against Swansea City.
“We can’t say anything now, as we have to perform some tests tomorrow. I can’t say if he’ll play on Thursday, but we have time to evaluate the situation.

“It will be extremely difficult, as Swansea play good football and won’t let us keep possession for long.”

This week Diego Armando Maradona was in the stands for the 3-0 Coppa Italia semi-final victory over Roma and said he’d like to become Coach one day.

“He is a legend and we have a good rapport. If we win many things together, then we’ll let Maradona come in and take over...”

Benitez was also asked about his on-going criticism of former club Inter after director Piero Ausilio said his constant complaints of a lack of investment had become “boring.”

“I was asked a specific question by a Spanish journalists and replied with the same thing I’ve said before in Italy.

“At the time Ausilio said I was right to complain, but now he works for Inter and has to do his duty in defending the club. I say those things because they are the truth.”