Benitez: Roma not better than Napoli

Rudi Garcia’s men have already defeated the San Paolo twice this season but the Partenopei coach insists that there is nothing to choose between the two sides

Rafael Benitez has dismissed the suggestion that Roma have already proven themselves superior to his Napoli side.

The two teams have met twice at the Stadio Olimpico this term and the Giallorossi have come out on top both times, defeating the Partenopei 2-0 in Serie A in October before claiming a 3-2 win in Wednesday’s exciting Coppa Italia semi-final first leg.

However, even though second-placed Roma are also six points ahead of Napoli in the league standings, Benitez insists that there is nothing to choose between the pair.

“Roma’s advantage [over us] is only having one game a week, and it is an advantage that goes on for the whole season,” the Spaniard told reporters on Friday.

“Having a week to prepare for each game makes it easier to correct any errors. We do not have the same opportunity to do so.

“I disagree with those who say that Rome are better [than Napoli] because they beat us twice.

“We can say that we deserved more out of both games. They are strong and have a good coach [Rudi Garcia], but we are also strong …”

Benitez was speaking ahead of Saturday’s Serie A showdown with AC Milan at San Siro, a game which the Italian press have been hyping up as a straight shootout between Gonzalo Higuain and Mario Balotelli.

However, while the former Liverpool boss recognises the quality of both strikers, he feels that it would be a mistake for his troops to focus only on one Rossoneri threat.

“Higuain will be the key for us, while Balotelli is one of Milan’s best players,” Benitez acknowledged.

“But anyone could make the difference and we cannot just watch only him, because we would lose sight of Kaka and the others.”

Benitez admitted, meanwhile, that he is looking forward to pitting his wits against Milan’s new boss, Clarence Seedorf, claiming that the Dutchman’s return to the Giuseppe Meazza as a coach is a good thing for the Italian game.

“As I see it, Seedorf and I are coaches who handle the concept of a more proactive game,” he mused.

“This is something I consider very positive for Serie A and the image of Italian football in the international arena.”

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