The Partenopei currently sit seventh in the Serie A standings but the Spaniard believes that his players proved last year that they can mix it with Italy’s finest
Rafael Benitez still believes that Napoli can fight for this season’s Scudetto – despite already being eight points off top spot.
The Partenopei had the opportunity to close the gap to leaders Juventus when they visited Inter on Sunday night but, despite taking the lead twice in the final 11 minutes through Jose Callejon, they were held to a 2-2 draw.
However, Benitez believes that Napoli, who finished third last season, are more than capable of battling the Bianconeri for the Scudetto.
“We’ve already shown a year ago that we are able to fight at the top,” the Spaniard told Sky Sport Italia.
“I’m not disappointed with the draw but content with the reaction of the team at a difficult ground like this one [the Giuseppe Meazza].
“I’m unhappy because we went ahead twice and twice we conceded right away but, overall, the second half pleased me.
“That’s why I’m talking about a great reaction. In the first 45 minutes we didn’t do what we were supposed to do, but in the second half we created more chances.
“I saw that every passing minute helped our chances because Inter were unbalanced.”
Callejon’s double saw him join Juventus striker Carlos Tevez and AC Milan attacker Keisuke Honda at the top of the goalscorers’ charts, but Napoli’s star forward, Gonzalo Higuain, remains without a Serie A goal to his name this season.
Benitez, though, is in no doubt that the former Real Madrid hitman will break his duck soon.
“He has scored in other competitions in Europe and we expect him to score again in the league,” the ex-Liverpool boss declared.
“He’s a very important player for us.”