Saturday March 1 2014
Benitez: 'Napoli win without Higuain'

Rafa Benitez has “confidence” in Napoli’s ability to beat Livorno on Sunday despite missing Gonzalo Higuain.

It kicks off tomorrow at 17.30 GMT and Higuain is suspended. Click here for a match preview.

“Losing Gonzalo is important, but we have to focus on the squad and make sure we are ready,” said the Coach in his Press conference.

“Goran Pandev, Jose Callejon or Duvan Zapata can all do well. I have faith in them. We’ve got to focus on more than just the result against Livorno.”

Napoli risk fatigue after a 3-1 Europa League victory over Swansea City on Thursday evening.

“It was not easy, while we had a good first half against Genoa. We will continue along our path and there is confidence around the team.

“It is very useful to face sides from different Leagues and understand the difference in tempo. I think it is positive to analyse our performance against Swansea and see the improvements in attack and defence.

“If we look back to our Coppa Italia semi-final against Roma, the team had balance, attacking and defending well. We cannot expect for our strikers to put in the same work defending as those with less quality.

“My problem is finding solidity between defence and attack. I can say that in every training session, but it’s only natural on the pitch the strikers want to go forward.

“We have to start strong against Livorno and have control of the game right away. Against Swansea we saw that they defended well while we moved the ball around. That’s what we must learn, to be patient in certain games regardless of the crowd and the media pressure.”

Some of that pressure regards Benitez’s tactics, a criticism he does not appreciate.

“I want to send a message to a club that is growing and offering attacking football. The system is a debate that I do not share. All the teams at the top haven’t changed their system.”

The last few days have been filled with controversy over refereeing decisions.

“Everyone is right in their own way,” shrugged the former Liverpool manager. “I ask all the Coaches if they remember an incident that went against them and obviously they’ll all say yes. It’s the same everywhere. Let us leave referees to do their work, which is extremely difficult.”