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Rafa Benitez Wants Gonzalo Higuain To Improve His Performance

Napoli's Argentinian front man is way out of form, and Rafa Benitez is getting tired of it.

Dennis Grombkowski

Gonzalo Higuain is a hell of a footballer, and has been huge for Napoli this year. That's not something that can be denied. What also can't be denied, however, is that he hasn't played well in awhile now. He hasn't scored since bagging a last-second winner against Torino in March, a run stretching back five matches.

In fact, Higuain has been so poor of late that he's been subbed out in four of those five matches he's been subbed out in order to try to get someone more effective on to the pitch, and the fifth he was subbed in for an injured Duvan Zapata. Those substitutions have led to some unfortunately petulant displays as Higuain has made his way off the pitch and sat the bench, which hasn't exactly helped the club's image as their season has spiraled.

As the striker's manager, Rafa Benitez has certainly noticed all of this. "Higuain is training well, but knows he hasn't performed to his best and that he must do, because he’s an important player for us." It probably hasn't been easy for Rafa to watch the player who's carried Napoli through so much of the season looking so frustrated on the pitch and then worse when he comes off it.

Part of the problem hasn't just been on Higuain, though. Yes, he's been looking incredibly ineffective when he's had chances of late, but he's spent so much time stranded on his own up top with little to no effective support that he's had very, very few chances. Normally he's better at capitalizing on whatever he gets, and that hasn't happened, but no striker is going to be on top form all the time. They need help, and Higuain hasn't gotten it.

Hopefully Higuain can get back in to form soon, because Napoli will need him down this stretch run and for the Coppa final. Maybe a match off against Lazio tomorrow can do him some good, especially with Zapata playing well of late. With a chance to rest his legs and get his head together, Higuain can come back firing and bag a bunch of goals.