Pandev: Benítez is different since Inter

Goran PandevGoran Pandev is pleased that new Napoli manager Rafael Benítez noticed how improved he is. Despite the arrivals of Dries Mertens and Jose Callejón, he isn’t afraid of competition and feels Napoli must add more attackers in order to challenge for the Scudetto.

In an interview with newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport, Goran Pandev spoke about Napoli’s new manager with whom he previously played under at Inter.

“I’m pleased that the manager thinks I’ve improved from the time at Inter. I want to win trophies because the Coppa Italia seems nothing as Napoli can achieve much more. We have to win more important trophies. Juve bought two great attackers (Carlos Tévez and Fernando Llorente) and will continue to strive high.”

Benítez recently said that Pandev is best when playing behind the strikers, but also added that he can be useful at other offensive positions. “The manager sees my best fit being behind the strikers, as a trequartista. And that’s the position I prefer but I’m always prepared to sacrifice myself and play on the wing as I did under Jose Mourinho.”

Pandev came to Napoli thanks to Walter Mazzari who joined Pandev’s previous club Inter earlier in the summer. They worked well together, but Pandev will never forget the only bad thing under Mazzari, when he forced him to play although he was ill. “I thank Mazzari for what he did. He was the one who wanted me at Napoli. But under him I’ve learned that in the future I will never play when I’m not feeling well. I won’t do it, my experience taught me never to repeat it.”

Following Edinson Cavani’s departure to Paris-Saint Germain, the Partenopei are left without a main man up front. So far, they’ve bought wingers Dries Mertens from PSV and José Callejón from Real Madrid, but both are nothing compared to the departed star. “I expect that the board will buy new good strikers. It will be a long season and there will be place for everyone. Benítez is much more kind than when we worked together at Inter. Now we are in Napoli and everything is different, I repeat that I’m pleased that he noticed how improved I am with my physical condition. Rafa has won much, we have to follow him.”

“We had a great striker and I feel sorry that he left. Cavani scored many goals and we have to thank him. I would have preferred him to stay and to win with us. Now, however, it is up to us not to let the team feel his absence.”

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