Sunday August 10 2014
Benitez: 'PSG rehearsal for Athletic'

Rafa Benitez said Monday’s Napoli-PSG friendly is “a dress rehearsal for Athletic Bilbao” in the Champions League.

The Partenopei host Edinson Cavani, Ezequiel Lavezzi and Zlatan Ibrahimovic tomorrow night at the Stadio San Paolo.

“With Paris Saint-Germain this will be a dress rehearsal for the challenge with Athletic Bilbao,” Benitez told the official Napoli website.

“It’s our last game before the Champions League play-offs. We know their players, their staff and their quality, but we are aware that our own strengths can make life difficult for them too.”

The first leg will be at the San Paolo on August 19 with the decider at the San Mames on August 27.

Athletic are already in good shape, as they beat Borussia Monchengladbach 3-1 in a friendly on Saturday.

“PSG are one of Europe’s strongest sides, as they did well last year in Ligue and the Champions League, plus reinforced further with David Luiz. He’s one of the best centre-backs in the world, also very good in a central midfield role.

“We will face PSG with a great deal of respect, but also with faith in our own abilities. I trust there will be many fans at the San Paolo and it’s important they make themselves heard as our 12th man,” continued Benitez.

Napoli beat Barcelona 1-0 in Geneva on Wednesday in another prestigious friendly test.

“That performance sent out good signals, as the team has grown physically and tactically. We are working well and those who arrived late due to the World Cup are also training with intensity.

“I am confident tomorrow we’ll take another step towards the Champions League play-off.”

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