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Napoli gelled as a team, says Benitez

23 May 2014 07:02

Napoli coach Rafa Benitez said his side 'are more of a team' after their third-place finish in the Serie A.

The Stadio San Paolo outfit qualified for the UEFA Champions League, and claimed the Coppa Italia title with a final victory over Fiorentina to cap a strong season.

Benitez reflected on his first year in charge in Naples, claiming his squad had developed nicely and noted the improvement of striker Jose Callejon, who Napoli purchased for €10 million in the off season.

"We have a very good squad and staff who all worked very well. We were able to win the Coppa Italia despite using an entirely new tactical system with a very attacking mentality," Benitez told Onda Cero.

"We scored 104 goals over the course of the season and always tried to take the initiative with possession. We should be very satisfied with what we have achieved.

"When I said at the start of the season that Jose Callejon would've scored between 15 and 20 goals, they thought I was crazy. At the end he scored 20 and everyone had to take it back.

"Both Jose and the rest of the strikers had a great campaign. Last season they depended too much on Edinson Cavani, whereas now there are many more alternatives in attack. Napoli are more of a team.

"I think the fans like this a lot more and it also causes more problems for our opponents, as they are forced to defend against three or four players who can find the net."

Benitez said Callejon was never in the picture to feature for Spain at the World Cup, after the 27-year-old was left out of Vicente Del Bosque's squad.

"I am not surprised," Benitez said of Callejon's snub.

"I'm in constant contact with the Spanish staff and Vicente Del Bosque, so I suspected he wouldn't be called up.

"I am a professional and it's not up to me to judge the choices of my colleagues."

Benitez said keeping his players fresh was his main objective throughout the season, and he believes doing so had great effect.

"The secret of this great year was squad rotation. At the start I had many doubts, seeing as there were new players, so being able to use them all during the campaign allowed us to win the Coppa Italia," the Spaniard said.

"Making all the objectives important and working the same way with everyone makes the squad more competitive. It's important that everyone feels important and knows they have an opportunity to make the most of."

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