Napoli coach Rafael Benitez has delivered a backhander to former club Inter Milan, weeks out from their date in Serie A.
The two sides are set to meet at the Stadio San Paolo on December 15 and as it stands only three points separates Benitez’s Napoli in third (28) and Inter in fourth (25).
Reflecting on his six-month tenure at the San Siro, Benitez said the Naples-based club has ‘more enthusiasm, more eagerness, hungry and with less age’ than their Inter counterparts.
“The truth is that this is a very nice place: with golf, training camps … People who love you, players who work with the will to win … and things are going well, therefore, we have to be happy,” he told ESPN.
“There are so many things here that make me think that the results are very good despite the short time we have been here. Therefore, I am positive about the future and it can be even better because we will have more leeway.
“That Inter had a higher level, but with an older team. This is a squad with more enthusiasm, more eagerness, hungry and with less age – so it is always easier to influence the players – to make them understand things.”
Benitez also took aim at Inter Milan’s chiefs, claiming he can get what he needs at Napoli with more ease.
“The difference is that here when you say: ‘I want this, this and this…’ (and) they try to do it,” he said.
“Also we have taken a step forward because many of the players who have come already know me and understand me perfectly and that is also an advantage.”
Benitez also said his controversial stint at Chelsea from last year through to May uncovered jealous Blues fans, who only disapproved of him at Stamford Bridge given his success over the London club with Liverpool.
“There was a group of fans that could not change their opinion,” Benitez told Marca.
“They remembered the successes we had whilst at Liverpool against them, against a strong Chelsea team, so strong that it left them without the ability to forget. But this was something that could not change.”