Rafa Benitez talked ahead of the game versus Lazio at Rome’s Stadio Olimpico.
What’s the situation after the loss in Dortmund? “We’re unhappy with the last three results, we lost the ball when we were counterattacking and we suffered as a result, but we could have tied the game. The goals in the last few losses were episodic in nature, one from a penalty, the other from an offside. The takeaway point from Dortmund is that we can beat anyone with the intensity with which we faced Borussia. Tomorrow we must face Lazio with the same intensity”.
What were president De Laurentiis’ thoughts? “I speak with the president very often. We work together to make the club grow under every aspect, from quality players, to continuity of positive results. We may stumble along the way, but that’s part of the journey”.
Are too many expectations being placed on your lads? “Time will tell: this group trains a lot, with attention and determination. What matters is acquiring the right mentality in order to be in lead positions every year. We are fully capable of doing so”.
Have you thought of changing formation in order to add another midfielder? “The formation doesn’t matter. The current players are interpreting their roles very well, despite Mesto and Zuniga’s injuries. Maggio is returning to form and Armero is improving with each passing game. What matters is game play like pressing, ball possession; and psychological aspects like self-belief and mental strength. With respect to the physical aspect, we are healthy, there is no physical collapse as some suggested”.
Napoli has scored fewer goals in the last few games and have only tied one game all season… “We’ve been unlucky not to score more… perhaps we lose some games because we risk too much in an effort to win”.
Do you think that if you were to put Insigne in Hamsik’s place, he would do better than Pandev does in the same position? “When I coached Valencia I won with no-namers because they understood the mechanics, the tactics, the movements. I believe that Pandev is a fantastic player, of great talent for Serie A. Lorenzo [Insigne] can do more-or-less the same things that Pandev can, but I believe he’s better employed on the flank and Pandev more so in the middle”.