Napoli – Inter Preview: Benitez hails team spirit as Mancini seeks revenge

The Spaniard faces his former club – whom they knocked out of the Coppa Italia – buoyed by the renewed sense of togetherness amongst his squad

Napoli boss Rafael Benitez has been buoyed his side’s team spirit ahead of Sunday’s visit of Inter in Serie A.

The Spaniard has kept his charges competitive on three fronts, although a 1-0 loss at Torino last time out in the league struck a blow to their hopes of a top-two finish.

Wednesday’s Coppa Italia semi-final first leg afforded them an opportunity to produce a positive response, and a 1-1 draw at Lazio makes them favourites for a return to the final of a competition they won last season.

In the previous round, Napoli overcame Inter thanks to Gonzalo Higuain’s last-gasp winner, putting revenge high on Roberto Mancini’s list heading into this tie.

With Europa League aspirations also on the agenda this month, Benitez was pleased to see such a promising display in Rome.

“I relished the team movement and the team spirit,” Benitez told the club’s official website.

“We have so many games in a short period of time that I cannot even count them all.

“The team reacted well and we have to continue our track.”

Napoli are 13 points adrift of leaders and three-time defending champions Juventus, meaning a second-placed finish is probably the best they can hope for.

Inter, also still in the Europa League, did not play in midweek so will be fresher than their opponents.

A 1-0 home loss to Fiorentina halted their momentum after three straight Serie A wins and progression to the Europa League’s last 16 against Celtic.

Inter have not beaten Napoli in their last five meetings, losing three and drawing two. October’s league meeting between the sides ended 2-2, with all four goals coming in the last 11 minutes.

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