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Benítez praises Napoli reaction against Athletic

Rafael Benítez praised SSC Napoli's "passion and commitment" against Athletic Club, with Spanish counterpart Ernesto Valverde also upbeat after their 1-1 draw.

Benítez praises Napoli reaction against Athletic
Benítez praises Napoli reaction against Athletic ©UEFA.com

• Rafael Benítez praises SSC Napoli's "passion and commitment" against Athletic Club
• Defender Miguel Britos says Napoli should treat second leg "like a final"
• Athletic coach Ernesto Valverde thinks tie is still in the balance after 1-1 draw
• Athletic goalscorer Iker Muniain believes Liga side got "stronger and stronger"

Rafael Benítez, Napoli coach
It's a difficult game to analyse because we started really well. The first minute we had a few chances but when they scored a goal, we had to react. I thought the reaction of the team was really good. We showed quality, passion and commitment until the end. We had three or four good chances and it could have been even better for us.

For next week we just carry on with the same preparation, preparing the team physically, technically and tactically and also, in this case, to manage the atmosphere and mentality because we know that we have to score. I think they will also try to push forward to score: they cannot go there in front of their fans and just sit down watching the game.

We have good players in attack but we have seen that they are compact, they play narrowly and they press well so I don't see a very open game. I can see with a team like them that they will try to push and to score because the fans will be pushing them anyway. We will try to control and we will try to score because we have to win.

Miguel Britos, Napoli defender
We gave it all we had today so we're still satisfied. We've got to build on this second half and play like that, with this level of aggression. It's certainly going to be a very difficult game [in Spain]. It's a very unique stadium and they have a whole city behind a team full of Basque players. They all know each other and they have some great fans. It's going to be like a cauldron; a difficult yet beautiful game to be involved in. It's a final, and we've got to give it our absolute maximum.

Iker Muniain celebrates his goal
Iker Muniain celebrates his goal©Getty Images

Ernesto Valverde, Athletic coach
Qualification is still in the balance, but this is a good result. We have scored here in Naples, and it means Napoli are obliged to score at San Mamés. We played with huge personality, at times dominating a big team who have a lot of players with plenty of Champions League experience.

It took an amazing goal from the fantastic Gonzalo Higuaín to hold us. The fact that we ended a game well against great champions makes me think that we prepared very well and that Athletic are a great club.

I do not know if we're favourites now; I really don't care. What is important is the result we got here. But it must not change our style of play – we play in Bilbao like it is 0-0.

Iker Muniain, Athletic forward
We started off a bit nervously, but as the game wore on we got stronger and stronger. We're happy with the way we played. I'm delighted with my goal, above all for the team because we come away with a good result. We're in the Champions League and it's only normal that you suffer at times. We're very confident. I think it's still 50/50 who goes through. If we show that we believe we can go through, then we will. We are a very ambitious side.