Our toughest test so far, says Leon
19th February 2014
Leon Britton admits the Swans are braced for the toughest test of their Europa League campaign when Napoli visit the Liberty on Thursday (8.05pm).
Rafa Benitez's side head to SA1 for the first leg of their last 32 tie with the Swans, who have reached this stage of the tournament for the first time.
Napoli, who won the Uefa Cup in 1989, entered this phase of the competition after dropping out of their Champions League group on goal difference.
The Swans, meanwhile, qualified after progressing from a group containing Spanish giants Valencia, Russian outfit Kuban Krasnodar and Swiss side St Gallen.
But Britton insists the Swans are gearing up for what he expects to be the hardest encounter of their European campaign.
"They were very unlucky not to qualify from their Champions League group, while they are flying high in the Italian League. To be currently third in that division shows how good a side they are," said the midfielder.
"Gonzalo Higuain and Marek Hamsik are fantastic players, and they have Rafa Benitez in charge.
"He is a very experienced manager who won the Champions League with Liverpool, and last year at Chelsea he won this competition.
"So without a doubt it's our biggest challenge in Europe."
The Italian side will be favourites to progress from the round and book a tie with either Eintracht Frankfurt or Porto in the last 16.
And while Britton feels the Swans couldn't have asked for a tougher tie, he insists the club will benefit greatly from the two encounters as they look to continue the club's European adventure.
"It's probably the most difficult game we could have had, but it's one we're looking forward to," added the 31-year-old.
"Gaining the experience of playing against foreign teams with different styles and methods will benefit us a lot.
"Italian teams are renowned for being very tactical and defensively strong, but hopefully we can take a good result to Naples."