Rafa Benitez talks about Chelsea fans, Liverpool’s Reina and Arsenal target Higuain

Rafa Benitez 02

The Spanish coach is leading a revolution at Napoli, but has discussed his time at Stamford Bridge in a recent interview.

Former Liverpool coach Rafa Benitez never managed to win over the Chelsea faithful in his interim role as the club’s manager, and has since moved on to pastures new with Napoli in Italy.

His new side are top of Serie A after Saturday’s 2-0 win over Genoa, and things are looking a lot more rosy for Benitez now than they ever did at Stamford Bridge.

The Spaniard has admitted that the situation he found himself in at the west London club was very different to what he has experienced as other teams.

“All through my career I felt I was really fortunate, because I kept very good relationships with my clubs – Tenerife, Estremadura, Valencia, Liverpool - Chelsea, though, brought a special set of circumstances,” Bentiez admits.

Much of the stigma attached to Benitez’s appointment came from his history at Anfield, but Benitez tried his best to bridge the gap.

“I cannot change what we did or what we achieved in our results against them,” he continued. “All I did was to be professional.”

“I was extremely pleased with the way that my Chelsea team were playing and winning at the end.”

One player that he has been reunited with from his Liverpool days is goalkeeper Pepe Reina, who is on loan at Napoli from the Merseyside club. Benitez feels his countryman is a key asset for the Naples-based side.

“When I found that we could bring Pepe here it was fantastic, because I was reuniting with someone who knows what I want, and who knows the way I work,” he said.

“He is a great person, and a very good professional, too.”

Another of the key players in Napoli’s quest for honours this term will be Argentine forward Gonzalo Higauin, who moved to the club from Real Madrid in the summer.

The hitman was heavily linked with a switch to Arsenal over the summer, but Benitez has stated that Higuain is a key man in Naples.

“We had to convince him that he would be a star here, that he would be a crucial player for the whole team,” Benitez concluded.

“We know that he is the type of player who can make the difference, if everything around him is set up exactly right. He was the extra ingredient we were looking for.”

Napoli take on Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday in the Champions League.

image: © thesportreview

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