NEWS
Saturday March 14 2015
Benitez: 'Fiery Verona atmosphere'

Rafa Benitez welcomes Lorenzo Insigne back for Napoli’s trip to Verona and expects a “fiery atmosphere.”

It kicks off on Sunday at 17.00 GMT, click here for a match preview.

“It will be a fiery atmosphere and I must talk to a few players who don’t yet know what the Verona fixture is like,” Benitez told Radio Kiss Kiss.

These clubs are fierce rivals and often exchange vicious insults in the stands.

“It is going to be a very difficult game and this is why I must send the right message to the squad, analysing all the recordings in detail. We respect Verona, as they play with intensity to put us under pressure.”

The good news is that Insigne returns to the squad for this trip, though it remains to be seen if he will actually play.

The 23-year-old has been out of action since undergoing knee ligament surgery in early November, but has recovered quicker than expected.

“We saw Lorenzo train every day and I did say he is one of the most important players for Italian football and for Napoli.

“My responsibility is to get him back to his best gradually. He would love to play right away, but it’s not that simple. We must be patient and send him positive signs.

“He will be with us in Verona, as it’s important to give him the right motivation and let him work with his teammates.”

Juan Camilo Zuniga did make his comeback after five months out and played a few minutes in Thursday’s 3-1 Europa League victory over Dinamo Moscow.

“I’d like to see Zuniga back to his levels, as he’s always been spectacular at Napoli. He can make the difference, just like Lorenzo.

“It was a good intense game on Thursday, showing great character after going behind. We kept the ball and passed it around well, among other things I really liked about the performance.

“Gonzalo Higuain’s hat-trick? It’s hard for me to talk about individuals, as his teammates give him a big hand. He can make the difference in every game, but it depends on his teammates and on his attitude. He is very important for us.”

Kalidou Koulibaly went off with a sprained ankle in that match, while Manolo Gabbiadini and Christian Maggio are carrying injuries.”

“The fitness staff have done well to prevent injuries, so we haven’t got too many problems in this very intense stage of the season.

“We can say that we’ve got no centre-backs for Verona, so we called Sebastiano Luperto, who is doing well with the Primavera youth team.”