Arsenal v Napoli: Rafael Benitez issues Jose Mourinho jibe, saying Arsène Wenger is the best manager in England


 Second home: Rafael Benitez feels managing in Naples is similar to his time at Liverpool Photo: PA

Second home: Rafael Benitez feels managing in Naples is similar to his time at Liverpool Photo: PA

Rafael Benítez returned to London on Monday with what could be perceived as a dig at Jose Mourinho when the Spaniard asserted that Arsène Wenger was the best coach in the Premier League.
Chelsea finished third last season and also won the Europa League, but Benítez was still replaced by ­Mourinho, whose team are four points adrift of Arsenal at the top of the Premier League.

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With Sir Alex Ferguson retired, Mourinho and Wenger are the two most successful managers still working in England and the only past winners of the Premier League.

“I was expecting a strong Arsenal team,” Benítez said ahead of Tuesday night’s Champions Leaguer Group F game between Wenger’s Arsenal and Benítez’s Napoli at the Emirates.

“Wenger is the best coach in the Premier League, then they signed good players and at this point everything is going well for them.

“I think he’s a great manager, great person, someone that knows the league here in England, experience in Europe and always in the top four.

“He’s doing a great job. Hopefully he can win the Champions League – but another year, not this one.”

Napoli have started the season similarly well under Benítez and, as well as beating Borussia Dortmund in their first Champions League group match, they lead Serie A.

“We probably need to control the euphoria,” the Spaniard said.

Benítez stressed that he did not think he had a point to prove in England after being so unpopular with some Chelsea fans and likened his current experience in Naples to managing in Liverpool.

“It’s very similar to Liverpool in terms of passion for the team, passion for football,” he said.

“You can see that everywhere. The city is a city of fighters and of workers and when the fans go to the stadium they are behind the team.

“That is why it has been easy for me. The players work very hard, so there is a lot of positives now.”

Of his Chelsea experience, Benítez said: “I’m really pleased because we finished top three – that was the target – and won the Europa League.

“The majority of the professionals and people who follow the team every day could see we were trying to do our best and we did a good job at the end.”

And could we see him back in England?

“My future is to do well with Napoli and try to win things,” Benítez said.

“You never know. I am still a young manager hopefully I’ll be there a long time, then I can manage in different countries in the future.”

Babatunde Akinsola
Babatunde Akinsola
Babatunde Akinsola is aNaija247news' Southwest editor. He's based in Lagos and writes on the Yoruba Nation political issues, news and investigative reports

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