Italy news

Benitez looks to future with Napoli

July 23, 2013
By Ben Gladwell, Italy Correspondent

Napoli coach Rafael Benitez has said he is focused on winning matches with the Partenopei and does not have a point to prove after his difficult spell at Inter Milan.

Rafa
GettyImagesBenitez spent an unhappy six months at Inter Milan.

Benitez took over at Inter immediately after Jose Mourinho had led them to a Serie A, Coppa Italia and Champions League treble in 2010. He lasted just over six months in the Nerazzurri hotseat, being relieved of his duties only days after leading them to victory in the Club World Cup.

But the coach, who led Chelsea to the Europa League last season, said that unhappy spell was now firmly in the past - and players including Goran Pandev have tipped him to succeed.

“I’m not thinking about Inter or the past, I’m only looking at the present - which is Napoli,” he told Eurosport. “I’m only concentrating on this club, which wants to grow.

“We can definitely do well. We are a club who have already done well, but the people here are not afraid of change, and this is good because that’s how we can gain even greater results. The players are ready to do well, even in the Champions League.”

Club president Aurelio De Laurentiis has promised his new coach €124.5 million to spend, with reinforcements up front the priority following the big-money departure of Edinson Cavani, and Real Madrid’s Gonzalo Higuain the number one target.

Leandro Damiao and Fernando Torres have also been touted as potential arrivals, but Benitez said he did not mind who arrives “as long as he’s a good centre-forward”.

"I may even choose to play like they do in Spain with a ‘false’ number nine, but I'd still prefer to have a centre-forward here and to train him, then I could still decide whether to play with a ‘false’ number nine or not," he explained.

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