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Rafa Benitez isn't getting sacked for now, but he is paying a price

According to reports out of Italy, Rafa Benitez isn't at immediate risk of being fired, but that doesn't mean his failures this season are going unpunished.

Dino Panato

After yesterday's loss to Udinese, there was a loud cry from much of the fanbase: Rafa Out.

After the frustrations and disappointments of this early run of the season, many fans have grown tired of Rafa Benitez. Portions of the fanbase never really warmed up to the Spaniard last season, and the struggles Napoli have faces over the last month have only added numbers to that discontent group.

It's perhaps an understandable desire to see Rafa fired. Under his guidance this season, Napoli have looked listless, lost, and without a plan too often this season. We've seen bizarre lineups, regular places for bad players, and infuriating results. Two of the players who left last summer did so acrimoniously, and have made frequent potshots aimed straight at Rafa since their departures.

But this is a better squad on a pure talent basis than last year's squad, and it's hard to deny that Rafa achieved some impressive things with that squad. Earning a record points total, record goals scored, and a Coppa Italia title isn't half bad. If he can right the ship, Napoli could rise to even greater heights with the talent the club has now.

According to reports out of Italy this morning, Rafa's going to get more time to try and get things moving in the right direction: he's not being sacked... for now.

There is a price to be paid, though. All talks of an extension of Rafa's deal, which currently expires at the end of the season, are being tabled until things improve. Aurelio De Laurentiis is also heading to Castel Volturno before his trip to America to sit down and talk to Rafa, and presumably lay out where things have to go from here in order for him to keep his job.

Please don't screw this chance up, Rafa. Napoli fans need a wonderful season, and so far you've given us heartburn. Stop giving us heartburn, Rafa.