Sunday August 31 2014
Benitez: 'It's not life or death'

Rafa Benitez praised Napoli’s spirit, but warned “Italian football can’t consider every match a life or death situation.”

Jonathan de Guzman popped up with a last-gasp goal to win 2-1 at Genoa this evening in the first Serie A round.

“Italian football needs to calm down and not consider every match a life or death situation,” he told Sky Sport Italia.

“I had to smile, as before our goal people acted as if the Scudetto was beyond us and we were going into Serie B.

“We need time, as after the World Cup with new players not at peak condition it is tough, but we saw a lot of quality during the game.

“Both teams could’ve scored many more goals in this game. The fact we pushed right to the end is a good sign and this was a victory of the team.”

Benitez was asked about the Champions League play-off defeat to Athletic Bilbao, which cast a shadow over their season already.

“Athletic Bilbao have an extra two weeks of fitness training and the whole city behind them. We could’ve scored goals, we didn’t, then we made mistakes at the back. That is football.”

The Coach was also questioned on Jose Callejon, who angrily threw a plastic bottle after his substitution tonight.

“If every game we look at the gestures of every single player, it will never end. If a player comes off and is angry, it’s entirely natural, as they always want to give more.”

Blerim Dzemaili and Goran Pandev have agreed transfers to Galatasaray, but Benitez warned there would be no replacements coming in.

“I think the market is closed, at least for incoming players, though some could still leave if everyone reaches an agreement with the right terms.”

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