Rafa Benitez eyes European success
Rafa Benitez believes his Napoli side can go far in the Champions League -- and provided a reminder that his Liverpool team upset the odds during his debut campaign in England.
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Napoli will qualify for the knockout stages of the tournament if they win at Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday night, and Benitez -- who lifted the trophy with Liverpool in 2005 -- is already setting his sights on glory.
“The team can go far,” Benitez, who took charge of Napoli in the summer, told a news conference on Monday. “We are only at the beginning of our project. We were also successful in my first year at Liverpool. The start of something is of importance. We have only just begun our project.”
However, he accepts that it will be tough to beat last season's Champions League finalists Dortmund, who will play before a capacity crowd of 65,829 at the Westfalenstadion.
“They are an opponent on the highest level,” he said. “We have the greatest respect for them, which they have earned through their huge success in the past years. I love those games. They are a real test for our team.”
He added: “It is a difficult game for both teams. We have to be at 100 percent to get a result here.”
Napoli have won three of their four Champions League games this season, but in their away fixture at Arsenal they were beaten 2-0 after conceding two early goals.
They also lost 3-0 at Juventus at the weekend after going behind in the opening minutes, and Benitez believes the key to winning the big matches is through getting into the opposition from the start.
“Looking at three of the four Champions League games, we found a way into them early on in the match,” Benitez said. “That’s why I am satisfied with our performance in Champions League so far.”