Pandev backs Benitez for success

Goran Pandev has tipped new Napoli coach Rafael Benitez to take the club onto the next level and win some silverware.

Pandev, who had more of a peripheral role under Benitez’s predecessor Walter Mazzarri, so often in the shadows of Edinson Cavani, believes that the former Liverpool coach is just the man to quench the fans’ thirst for glory.

"He’s more serene than he was when I worked with him at Inter," Pandev said. "He has already won a lot, we just have to follow him. We’re at Napoli now and it’s all going to be different to how it was in Milan."

Pandev says Benitez, who still won the Club World Cup in a difficult spell with the Nerazzurri while adding the Europa League to a long list of triumphs last season, is a symbol of what the Partenopei should be.

"We represent a huge club," said the Macedonian at a press conference. "We should be aiming for big trophies and we must stop hiding. We haven’t won much so far - the Coppa Italia does not really count."

The key to taking the step up from last season’s second-place finish in Serie A will be winning more ‘easy’ games, according to Pandev.

"We won’t repeat the same mistakes from last season which saw us lose the Scudetto against small clubs," he said.

"With Benitez, we’ll play a different game and we could have a great deal of success. As long as we all go into double figures, which is what Benitez is asking, then we’re not even going to notice the absence of Cavani.

"Benitez wants us to be more compact and to push further up the field. Our first friendly showed that we’re following him and now we’re waiting to face a stronger side to check things, maybe with the help of some new players.

"The club is looking for a new striker and let’s hope he comes soon."

That new striker could be Gonzalo Higuain with Napoli reported to have struck a €37 million deal with Real Madrid for the Argentinean, who must now agree personal terms.