herald

Thursday 17 August 2017

Rafael Benitez: Napoli fans want me to stay

Benitez
Benitez

Defiant Napoli coach Rafael Benitez refuted suggestions that his team had lost their edge and said the club's supporters, delighted at the way they were playing, were asking him to stay.

"This is a team that plays great football and has already won two titles," Benitez said. "The fans tell me they have never seen the team playing such good football and they want me to stay."

"I'll talk about (my future) in April," added Benitez, whose contract runs until the end of this season. "I am very happy here, at the moment I have no offer or particular interest in moving, I am just thinking about doing well against Dinamo Moscow (in the Europa League tonight) and then in the championship."

Napoli, joint third in Serie A alongside Lazio, have slipped up after losing 1-0 at Torino and squandering a 2-0 lead at home to Inter Milan in a 2-2 draw on Sunday.

In between, they drew 1-1 at Lazio in the first leg of their Coppa Italia semi-final.

The Spaniard refused to answer questions after the Torino match, saying only he was angry at some of the refereeing decisions, and became involved in a row with an analyst from Sky Sport Italia.

Following that, club president Aurelio De Laurentiis has banned anyone from the club from giving interviews to Sky. "I'm happy to see the way that a team like ours is facing three competitions," said Benitez. "I've read that the team was tired against Inter....but we are not.

"I have the physical data, and statistically Napoli did more than Inter. Although we had played Lazio (in midweek), Inter only spent 19 percent of the game in our third and (goalkeeper) Mariano Andujar didn't have anything to do. The team ran more than Inter even when we were down to 10 men (after Henrique was sent off). We are in great shape."

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