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Rafa calls for patience at Napoli

Napoli coach Rafael Benitez has called for patience at the club ahead of his side’s Serie A clash with Lazio on Monday.

While Benitez’s side sit third in Serie A, Napoli have lost their last three matches in all competitions including league defeats against Juventus and Parma.

However, the Spaniard feels his squad have made improvements during the season and believes spectators must focus on the bigger picture when it comes to assessing his team.

“This group of players is working very hard and is very concentrated, and this is why we made such a good performance at the beginning of the championship,” he said.

“The team is also in the Champions League with nine points, therefore I believe the balance is positive.

“We made a mistake in a difficult moment and were defeated in the match against Parma. This means we should be even more focused on the job we have to do.”

Napoli brought in the likes of Gonzalo Higuain, Raul Albiol and Jose Callejon in the close-season in a bid to improve on the club’s second-placed finish last season.

Benitez, who took charge in May, feels Napoli must be afforded time to grow off the field when it comes to attracting the highest calibre of players.

He added:

“When (president Aurelio De Laurentiis) brought me here, he talked to me about his project to improve the club and this is what both of us want to do.

“We want to improve the structure and the club in order to attract important players and convince them to remain in this team. This is our idea. I believe this is a unique opportunity for the club because they made a great job in the past and this allows Napoli to find important players able to make the difference and be competitive at high levels.

“We shouldn’t be proud of the team because we win the championship once every 25 years. We have to be proud because every year the club has a certain level that allows us to be competitive in Europe.

“This is what we want to do, but this is of course a long path and sometimes we can make mistakes and we can be defeated, but this is the path we have to follow.”