Bologna vs Napoli preview - Benitez hails in-form Napoli

Posted Saturday, January 18, 2014 by PA

Napoli coach Rafa Benitez has showered his team with praise ahead of Sunday's match at Bologna where the Naples outfit will look to make it four wins in a row.

The Azzurri won 3-1 against Atalanta on Wednesday night to progress to the quarter-finals of the Coppa Italia.

That result followed their 3-0 triumph at Hellas Verona that kept Napoli in third place, five points clear of nearest rivals Fiorentina.

"The team is growing and I'm pleasantly surprised by how involved our players are with our project," Benitez said. "The team's spirit is perfect and we are improving game after game.

"Our aim is to achieve our best level and take it one game at a time."

Napoli, who hold the last Champions League qualifying spot and are just two points behind second-placed Roma, face a testing few months with the club involved in three competitions.

"Roma have done a great job but we cannot forget that unlike us they have only had one game a week," Benitez said. "We have so far been able to distribute our strengths and we hope we can continue to do so."

Rivals Bologna have won just three of their 19 games this season.

They go into the encounter at the Renato Dall' Ara stadium on the back of a goalless draw against Lazio, that was coach Davide Ballardini's first game in charge.

The outcome lifted the Rossoblu to 18th place, one point and one place adrift of safety.

"It's never easy to play against Lazio but we did well and didn't allow our rivals to have a shot on goal," Ballardini said. "We have to look at the positives and try to earn back the affection of our fans by handing solid performances in the future."

The hosts will be bolstered by the return of defender Andrea Mantovani and midfielder Francesco Della Roca from suspension.

Napoli are still without injured midfielder Valon Behrami.

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