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Tuesday September 16 2014
Partenopei panic

Something is wrong in the state of Napoli but Dave Taylor believes there is no need to get the knives out just yet.

There seems to be some alarm around Napoli at the moment with reports of new Coaches lined up, Rafa Benitez’s contract not being renewed and his reputed arguments with owner Aurelio De Laurentiis. Factor in the general dissatisfaction felt by the fans over the team’s poor start to the season and stir in comments about the club’s future from the less salubrious sections of the media and you have the basis of a panic in the streets.

Then there is the fact that De Laurentiis visited the training ground at Volturno twice in recent days, which is a rare thing in itself and you can see why some might get ideas beyond reality. But has it all been built up out all proportions?

ADL simply wanted to have a word with the players and, on his second visit as Rafa had returned from a family holiday back in Liverpool during international week, a word with his Coach before he went to the USA on club business.

Yet there still seems to be an agenda against Rafa and Napoli with reports suggesting that the he and the President don’t get on - something ridiculed by both individuals, as well as the club. “Reports in some newspapers that Benitez taking a few days off is another sign that the relationship with De Laurentiis has 'cracked' is not only false but ridiculous,” Napoli said in a recent statement.

Nonetheless there is no denying, ‘Something is rotten in the state of Denmark’.

The fans feel they have rightful grievances about the lack of serious investment in the squad and it doesn’t help when they get this sort of response from Napoli’s equivalent of Hamlet’s Claudius, ADL’s son, Edoardo: “Disappointed or not, we couldn’t care less about what our fans think, because we have always achieved excellent results at the end of the season.” All this and poor displays against Athletic Bilbao, a narrow win over Genoa and the Chievo defeat, has understandably left fans frustrated.

The bottom line, though, is that it is only the second round of games and the players and the newcomers look strong enough to get over all this. There is no doubting that Rafa, as his medals and experiences at other club show, is a top-notch Coach. Yet there is also no doubt that the team did not look prepared for the recent set of games, especially against the Flying Donkeys, which reminded everyone how many times Napoli lost to opposition they should have beaten easily last season. Defensive mistakes have already cost dearly this season and despite what ADL says, all the negative press and the lack of season tickets sold could see him waiver in his support of the Spaniard.

Undoubtedly the movie mogul would have not minced his words at their recent meeting and Rafa himself knows it’s a result business. Publicly, though, will the President still back his Coach to the hilt or not? One thing we do know is that much more of these disappointments and De Laurentiis may see him off.

For the time being however, it is much too early to be over negative and the only way forward is to give full backing to the team and the Coach, unlike many did on Sunday. 

Next up for Napoli is Sparta Prague in the Europa League this Thursday and that won’t be any picnic, and this competition in itself presents another problem. Should Napoli concentrate on it at the risk of injuring or wearing out first team players? I believe many fans would plump for the title or nothing and let Napoli take advantage of the extra pressure that Roma and Juve will be under until January at least.

In surmising current events, it is worth noting that since ADL took over, the club have enjoyed two successive promotions and have become a regular top five side in Serie A. They have also reached the Champions League twice and under Benitez recorded their most points ever and scored the most goals over a season as well.

For fans to be rebelling against their team and certain players doesn’t augur well and can only unsettle the squad. I personally feel Rafa should get more time and, if need be, more financial backing in January. We have seen how Napoli can devastate teams on their day and it will happen again, all that is needed is faith.

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Have your say...
Im not interista, far from it. Just putting my opinion across. When people say Benitez will win league and champs league, I find it funny as he can't even qualify for it any more. As for Serie A he's already lost 2 out of 3.
on the 24th September, 2014 at 10:36am
numero 10.. why does an interisti even commeneting on Napoli post.. go enjoy with Mazzarri..
on the 20th September, 2014 at 10:43pm
thats hilarious.....
on the 19th September, 2014 at 8:49pm
The guys who blame Rafa know nothing...If Rafa won the champs league with Houlliers team...why didnt Houllier win it....he never even got them through to quarter finals of champs league...under rafa liverpool were in champs league semi finals consistently....he built a squad....Raheem sterling was his parting gift to liverpool in turmoil...he is a great manager and if napoli stick with him...he will win the scudetto and champs league....
on the 19th September, 2014 at 12:33am
And Mazzari had them in Champions league not Coppa Italia, which most Italian teams don't care about. No, I can see him getting sacked again and with his luck will end up At Real Madrid. And that will be good riddance from Serie A.
on the 18th September, 2014 at 11:11pm
Won champions league with Houlliers team, got lucky to get to another final with Liverpool, when Chelsea and Juve had goals dissallowed. At Inter he won intercontinental cup and on same night complain he wanted more players. Burnt out players? C'mon. At Chelsea he had a squad that had won champs league, and now at Napoli he blows Champs league qualifier. Only time he won with his squad was at Valencia. I think also his football teams play unattractive football. I knew he would get sack at Inter
on the 18th September, 2014 at 11:05pm
Perhaps Numero 10 would like to explain precisely how Benitez 'mucked up' at Valencia (2 titles), Liverpool (several trophies, 5 successive seasons in CL and best ever PL points totals), Inter (no money, burnt out squad, but still some trophies) or Chelsea (no money, hostile fans, but still wins trophy and gets them back in CL). Napoli had same points total last year as under Mazzari, scored record number of goals and won cup. This does not seem to me to be the record of an incompetent.
on the 18th September, 2014 at 9:21am
Benitez has built a career on winning the champions league with Houllier's Liverpool team. Yes he did well with Valencia but ultimately he's no better than the next manager. Inter only lost Balo from the treble winning team so therefore he should have done better. Now he's underachieving with Napoli.
on the 17th September, 2014 at 4:00pm
He won most of his trophies with teams assembled by previous managers, then gently mucked up each team, til they could not play football anymore. Napoli had such a great style of play under Mazzari, and were getting stronger each year. Now i look at the team and its a completely different squad from a few years ago.
on the 17th September, 2014 at 11:06am
Scud, get a grip of yourself. He is more successful than the whole lot of them put together with trophies. Inter were dead after Mou - they were burnt to a crisp, he got the last bit of blood from them. If he stayed another year, he would have suffered the same agony.
on the 16th September, 2014 at 10:10pm
And what did he do with inter?
on the 16th September, 2014 at 7:05pm
"rafa isn't a top class manager" LOL he has more trophies than every other Serie A manager.
on the 16th September, 2014 at 5:41pm
Rafa really isn't a top class manager, Napoli really should be harassing Juventus and Roma instead of falling to teams like Chievo but Rafa's lack of defensive cohesion results in utter confusion as we saw in the Bilbao clash.
If you see the Juventus performance away at the Bentegodi and compare it with Napoli hosting Chievo it shows just how much of a let down Napoli are.
Benitez out. Ruined Inter, ruining Napoli.
on the 16th September, 2014 at 4:47pm
It's still hot in Italy in mid-august and there is Ferragosto on the 15th, no one will be watching footie.
on the 16th September, 2014 at 4:32pm
Bayern and Real struggling, like Napoli, with the most players at the world cup(Napoli 2nd to Bayern 14 players) Perhaps there is logic with post WC lack of time. ADL and Rafa look fine. I think ADL is finding investors so as to keep Rafa (I read March is their deadline to sort contract and stadium) Really good team Napoli, over 100 goals scored last season. But lacking everyone playing well, some are some not. Trying to get it cohesive. Pressure as well, 2nd year syndrome. (roma same actually)
on the 16th September, 2014 at 2:58pm
Also worth mentioning Serie A starts a couple weeks after the other big leagues, which is why we tend to do bad in CL qualifying games against teams from those leagues. We are not on the same fitness level. Not sure why Serie A can't start the same week as the PL or La Liga.....
on the 16th September, 2014 at 2:16pm

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