Rafael Benitez has labelled Arsene Wenger the “top coach in the Premier League” ahead of their UEFA Champions League clash on Tuesday.
The Spaniard takes his Napoli side to Arsenal on Tuesday in what will be his 19th match against Wenger as a manager following his spells at Liverpool and Chelsea.
Wenger leads the head-to-head record with eight wins to Benitez’s five, and the 53-year-old is full of respect for his opponent.
However, he is eager to build on his team’s win over Borussia Dortmund in their Champions League opener by controlling the game against an Arsenal side that lead the Premier League and beat Marseille in their first Group F fixture.
“We are going to play against a top side so we must show character, strength – but we must also show respect to a team that is top of the league and playing very well,” Benitez said.
“I am expecting a strong team because I think Wenger is the top coach in the Premier League, and then they signed top players so it is going well for them. Arsenal have a great manager and a good team.
“(Wenger) is a great manager, a great person. He is someone that knows the league in England and in Europe, and I think he is doing a great job and I hope that one year he can win it (the Champions League) – although not this year, just in case.”
Like Arsenal, Napoli have started their domestic campaign well and are yet to lose in Serie A.