Saturday November 22 2014
Benitez: 'I'm like Zeman, but...'

Napoli boss Rafa Benitez feels a kinship with Cagliari Coach Zdenek Zeman, although “I like to attack and win too...”

It kicks off at the Stadio San Paolo on Sunday at 14.00 GMT, click here for a match preview.

“We have to face this game with the same intensity and mentality as recent matches,” said the Coach in his Press conference.

“We need to defend well and attack better, knowing we are facing a side that likes to push forward and not just sit back in their own half.

“I think that can only be positive for the fans. Looking at the games they’ve played so far, I don’t think Cagliari just pour forward in a siege like Zeman’s teams used to. They do have a balance, albeit an attack-minded one.

“I like to play good football and win games. Perhaps Zeman and I have that in common, as he too likes to attack. However, I like to attack and win too...

“What are our ambitions? To win every game, though I don’t think that is possible. I think ambitions and objectives should be one match at a time. We must concentrate on Cagliari and that is all.”

Benitez visited his family in Liverpool over the break for international duty, sparking the usual rumours of an imminent exit from Napoli.

“If I go to Liverpool, everyone says I’m going back there, even if it’s just to visit my family. The fans respect me here and I am happy, there is a team that can grow and I am concentrated on that.

“We decided along with the President to put back any discussion of the contract renewal, although I don’t know when we’ll meet up. We are working with director Bigon to give Napoli a future.”

This includes the change of rules announced this week for the 2016-17 campaign, forcing all Serie A teams to have a maximum squad of 25 players, including four from their own youth academy and four who grew up in Italy.

“Looking forward we considered various elements. There are some players who can play different roles. As for the future reforms, we already have a squad of 25 players and want four youngsters from the youth academy. There aren’t many of those at the moment, but we are prepared for the change of regulations.”

Meanwhile, Lorenzo Insigne is out for five months with a knee ligament injury, while Dries Mertens misses Cagliari after being knocked unconscious for Belgium against Wales.

“Callejon can play on the left, like De Guzman, Mesto, Hamsik and Ghoulam. We have various alternatives,” assured Benitez.

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