Monday March 31 2014
ADL: Bonuses for second place

Aurelio De Laurentiis says he will pay the Napoli players a bonus if they can finish second, and keep Pepe Reina.

The Partenopei boosted their chances of a late push for the second automatic Champions League qualification place with a 2-0 win on Sunday evening over leaders Juventus.

“With Juventus the challenge is always special and in some way it is something that goes beyond the championship. This is the challenge of all time,” De Laurentiis has considered to reporters today in presenting pre-season training plans once more to be set in Dimaro.

“Rather than speak of hatred, I would speak of the healthy spirit between the fans. Yesterday’s game was not about reaching Juventus, but we are very interested in second place.

“I thanked the guys, telling them ‘if you play like this, we can do it’. I told  them that I will give them a bonus if we finish second.

“And I was talking to Pepe Reina, who has agreed, and then I said to the goalkeeper: ‘You will have to stay too!’”

Fall-out from yesterday centred on a war of words between Rafa Benitez and Antonio Conte, over respective budgets each team has, and subsequent expectations.

“If Conte says that he has only spent €20m then I would like to know what they do with the €300m turnover.

“I believe that the strength of the club and the Coach is that we are not conditioned by anything, we have taken increasing responsibility in building the team, even in the past with Coaches who have wanted to leave Napoli. We have shown with some authority that Napoli represents their fans.

“With Rafa we talk a lot about how to act in the market with respect to Financial Fair Play. We do not always agree on the proposals brought forward, but we discuss it in a constructive manner.

“We have had to give Rafa time to realise the situation. We could not change all the players. It would have been foolish, we were coming off a second place.

“Logically we give Rafa backing, whilst in January we acted in a difficult market.”

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