Past experience can help, believes Rafa
19th February 2014
Rafa Benitez believes his past meetings with Swansea City can give his Napoli side a slight advantage at the Liberty on Thursday night.
Benitez returns to the Liberty for the first time since his Chelsea side was knocked out of the Capital One Cup semi-finals last year.
The Italians, who missed out on the Champions League knockout stages via goal difference, are favourites to book a last 16 spot against either Eintracht Frankfurt or Porto.
And Benitez, a two-time winner of this tournament during his time at Valencia and Chelsea, feels his past experiences with the Swans can help his Napoli side as they prepare for what the Spaniard feels will be a testing evening at the Liberty.
"It is going to be difficult to win this game - to play a team from the Premier League is a challenge for us," said Benitez, who managed Chelsea to a win, defeat and draw against the Swans last season.
"I know Swansea and they are organised, play with a high tempo and passing game with quality players.
"We know how they play, but it is all about the players on the pitch.
"I don't know if they (Swansea) will be concentrating on the Europa League or watching the teams below them in the (Premier League) table, but last season at Chelsea we lost to them in the cup and that must be a message for us tomorrow."
He added: "It is important to win any match no matter if it's Champions League or the Europa League.
"The Europa League is a very difficult and important competition. To win this tournament would be a big achievement for us."
Napoli will tonight run the rule over Spanish international Raul Albiol and star striker Gonzalo Higuain ahead of the game, with the pair looking to overcome injuries.