With a day to go until their Europa League tie with Trabzonspor begins, Napoli are in Turkey and Rafa Benitez feels his players are ready to put on a good display. Despite concerns that Napoli could suffer a hangover of sorts from their crushing loss to Palermo at the weekend, the Spanish manager feels confident his squad can get a positive result in Turkey.
"I'm relaxed, the team is doing great," Benitez told the media after the team plane landed in Trabzon. "We're on the right path, our mentality and our energy are spot on to achieve a positive result. I was very angry on Saturday, but six consecutive victories should not be forgotten because we conceded three goals. We made some defensive errors and we paid for them, but now I'm focused on improving for tomorrow."
Being relaxed and able to move on from that defeat will be vital, because Napoli have to find a way to earn, at the worst, a scoring draw against Tabzonspor. Rafa seemed confident that his side can score in the tough environment that playing away matches in Turkey always creates, but it cannot be understated how vital getting an away goal or two will be to Napoli's ability to advance to the next round of the Europa League.
One player who understands the challenges Napoli will face against Trabzonspor is Gokhan Inler. The out of favor midfielder is of Turkish descent and played briefly in Turkey's youth international setup before deciding to represent his native Switzerland. As such, he's got a pretty good idea of what Napoli has in store on Thursday.
"I've known the Turkish supporters since I was a child," said Inler. "I know the atmosphere is going to be heated, but I'm not intimidated by that. In fact I like it. I am chilled and professional as always, everything else is not my problem."
The Swiss international is not well-loved in Turkey for his decision to represent a different country, but that's not something that's ever bothered Inler. He should probably get ready for a chorus of boos on Thursday, though, as it seems likely that he will play with Marek Hamsik, David Lopez, and Jorginho all in varying degrees of doubt for the match.