Benitez: I can win titles with Napoli

The coach is happy with the way the team have improved since he took over in summer 2013 and feels they will progress even further in the coming months

Rafael Benitez believes Napoli have improved a great deal under his reign and believes he can win titles with the club.

The Spanish coach replaced Walter Mazzarri at the helm of the Partenopei last summer and guided them to a Coppa Italia victory, third place finish in Serie A and the last 16 in the Europa League, before beating Juventus in the Supercoppa Italiana in December.

And, with the team sitting joint third after 16 games this year, the coach insists he can give them the balance required to win titles in the future.

“The winning recipe for a league title is consistency,” he told So Foot. “It also depends on the squad you have too and their motivation. Talent makes the difference, but motivation makes you work.

“My style is about, above all, balance. If my teams score many goals and concede many too, then I am not satisfied. I am not happy to just score one more than my opponents, nor if we defend well and score on our only chance of the game.

“I want my team to score goals, but I don’t want them to get surprised defensively. I like pressing, counter-attacking and possession. I often hear that my teams are defensive, But that’s not true. They are balanced – there’s a difference.

“If Napoli improve in defence and maintain our capacity to score goals, then we’ll gain in terms of balance. It is balance that wins you trophies.”

Napoli had a rough start to the current campaign, having lost in the Champions League qualifying stages before losing two and drawing one of their opening five league games, leaving the ex-Liverpool boss under pressure. However, they have bounced back and now sit nine points behind second-placed Roma and Benitez was confused to see his team’s title chances written off so quickly.

“Everyone wants to win the league, but in Italy if you win a series of games then you’re the favourites, then the moment you make one mistake, people say you have no chance.

“I’m here so that Napoli can make life difficult for others and make themselves respected by the biggest clubs in Italy. We are on the right track to achieve that aim.

“We changed the way Napoli work: physically, tactically and technically. We have made players less tense, less irritable, so that they can give their best.

“The team has a more international profile and players have a much higher market value than when we arrived. We also modified the infrastructure of the club: offices, gyms, meeting rooms, lunch rooms and the rest area where now there are a television and Playstation. We are setting up a specific area for the goalkeepers to train.

“The day I leave Napoli, I will be satisfied to leave my successor a better training ground than the one I found when I arrived.”