Benítez's Napoli frustated after Dnipro draw
Friday, May 8, 2015
"We're confident that if we create chances, we will score goals," Rafael Benítez told UEFA.com as SSC Napoli were left frustrated by a 1-1 draw at home to FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk.
Article top media content
• Rafael Benítez hopes Napoli can be more clinical in away leg after 1-1 draw with Dnipro
• Christian Maggio speaks of "disappointment" and "bitterness"
• Douglas believes Dnipro can finish job next Thursday in Kyiv and reach Warsaw final
• Exclusive behind-the-scenes photos from Naples and Seville
When SSC Napoli consult the statistics from their UEFA Europa League semi-final clash with FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk, the question is bound to be raised as to how they emerged with only a 1-1 draw at the Stadio San Paolo.
Nineteen efforts on goal – raising their competition-leading tally to 210 – and 14 corners were not enough to earn Rafael Benítez's men a lead to take to Kyiv next Thursday. Just three shots sufficed for Dnipro to grab a valuable away goal, on the other hand, as the visitors executed their game plan to near perfection.
Sometimes the statistics do not tell the whole story and that is the bare truth Benítez had to accept on Thursday night. Interpreting those facts in another manner, though, suggests that this semi-final tie still has legs.
"Obviously when you create then you know you can score so we have to continue with the same approach for the next game and see what we can do," Benítez told UEFA.com. "It will be tough, it will be difficult but we are confident that if we create chances we will score goals. We won against Wolfsburg away [4-1 in the first leg of their quarter-final] so I think we can do the same."
Indeed, Napoli are not the tournament's top scorers for no reason, and with 26 goals at an average of two per game, they know that by obeying that mean, a place in the Warsaw final could yet be theirs.
"There is a bit of disappointment mixed in with a bit of bitterness," said Napoli defender Christian Maggio. "Bitterness because we played a great game today, getting little to nothing wrong. We could have got two or three goals and I'm sorry that we've only picked up a draw, but we know how strong we are and we'll go there and try to impose our game on them to qualify for the final.
"We wanted to do well and get a good result tonight. We didn't manage it, but we still saw that we had a huge number of chance so certainly for the return leg we can still do well. We've got the potential to get the result we need."
It will nevertheless be another 90 minutes of trying to unlock a defence marshalled meanly in Naples by Brazilian defender Douglas. And he is ready for another battle back in Kyiv. "We know that we're a strong team, too. We can make the final," he told UEFA.com.
They needed only one statistic to prove that – the final score.