Napoli pumped up for Inter clash

Napoli made an early exit from the Champions League this week but will do their best to return to the competition next season.

Gonzalo Iguain of Napoli celebrate

That is the mindset of Napoli coach Rafa Benitez ahead of Sunday's match against his former club Inter Milan.

Napoli beat Arsenal 2-0 on Wednesday but finished third in Group F due to an inferior head-to-head record with Borussia Dortmund and the London outfit.

Benitez's team had won four of their six group games, something no other side in Champions League history had done and gone out.

"We will try to return to the competition next season," Benitez said. "Mentally we can come back stronger from this game, because we showed quality and determination.

"I feel my team is doing well and we are progressing in the right way.

"We have the Europa League to look forward to in February and until then our focus is on the domestic front."

Benitez, who endured a difficult six-month spell at Inter before leaving the club in December 2010, has enjoyed a good start to life at Napoli.

Last weekend's 3-3 draw at Udinese kept Napoli to third place and holding onto the last Champions League qualifying spot.

Rivals Inter, who are not competing in Europe this season, are one place and four points behind Napoli.

The Nerazzurri travel to Naples looking for their first league win since beating Livorno on November 9. Draws against Bologna, Sampdoria and Parma have followed since.

"We haven't done well in our last few games," Inter midfielder Ricky Alvarez said. "However, we cannot forget that we have only lost once this season.

"We need to start playing again like we did at the start of the season and get results.

"The game at Napoli gives us an oppportunity to move up a level again."

Inter coach Walter Mazzarri is expected to get a warm welcome when he returns to the San Paolo stadium for the first time since leaving Napoli this summer.

Mazzarri spent four seasons at Napoli and led the club to win the Coppa Italia in 2012 and finish runners-up in Serie A in 2013.

A win on Sunday would be a big boost in confidence for Inter in view of next weekend's city derby against AC Milan.

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