Swansea 0 Napoli 0: Rafael Benitez tips Swans coach Garry Monk for a 'good future' after Liberty stalemate
Swansea held their illustrious opponents to a goalless draw to bring a welcome distraction from their relegation dogfight
Friday 21 February 2014
Napoli boss Rafael Benitez praised Swansea and their rookie head coach Garry Monk after seeing his team held 0-0 at the Liberty Stadium.
The Serie A side will be favourites to clinch a place in the Europa League last-16 by winning next Thursday's return encounter in southern Italy.
But it could have been a vastly different story after Swansea produced arguably their best performance of the season in only Monk's fourth game at the helm after Michael Laudrup's departure earlier this month.
"Playing against a team from the Premier League, we knew the rhythm would be different and that they played with a high tempo," former Liverpool and Chelsea manager Benitez said.
"We suffered and we had to defend well, but I thought we played well.
"It is positive to get a draw here. Swansea are fast, they played well and had good chances, but I think defensively my team did a great job against a side that attacked from start to finish.
"It wasn't easy to stop them. Without being fully happy, I can be happy with the way we performed because it is difficult to defend against this tempo."
And in praise of Monk, he added: "It was a great game and his side did well.
"If they carry on with similar things, it will give them good confidence and from what I have seen it seems like he has a good future as manager."
Monk hailed his players following what he described as a "wow" performance against opponents who only bowed out of the Champions League group stage this season on goal difference.
"What a performance that was from us," Monk said.
"Napoli are one of the top teams in Europe, so to put a performance like that on... I said to the players afterwards the word was 'wow'.
"It is a great confidence boost for the players. I guess the only disappointment was that we didn't score a goal.
"I thought we deserved at least a couple of goals. There was some fantastic goalkeeping, and maybe a bit more clinical finishing would have done it, but apart from that the boys were magnificent.
"I said before the game about putting a performance in we can all be proud of, and I think the players more than did that.
"We have competed with Napoli once, and we can definitely compete with them again.
"We have to be aware it is a different environment next week, a very hostile one, but what an experience for us to have. To be in with a shout, I guess that's all we could have asked for."
Latest in Sport
Anderlecht vs Arsenal match report: Kieran Gibbs and Lukas Podolski pounce as Arsenal leave it late
Liverpool fans applaud Cristiano Ronaldo after master-class for Real Madrid, despite his Manchester United ties
Liverpool vs Real Madrid player ratings: Was Cristiano Ronaldo the star man? And how did Mario Balotelli fare?
Liverpool vs Real Madrid match report: Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema run Reds ragged at Anfield
Diego Costa injury: Chelsea striker forced into hospital ahead of Manchester United clash - reports
- 1 This 'woman calls police to order pizza' story isn't going where you're expecting
- 2 Marijuana use by teenagers does not result in a lower IQ or worse exam results, study finds
- 3 Watch what happened when food critics were unknowingly served McDonald's
- 4 Jimmy Carr's controversial Oscar Pistorius joke goes too far at the Q Awards
- 5 NHS staff banned from drinking tea or coffee on the job because it looks like they're not working hard enough
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991' with most Brits wanting to stay 'in'
Thousands with degenerative conditions classified as 'fit to work in future' – despite no possibility of improvement
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters