Benitez urges professionalism

Benitez’s men followed last weekend’s 2-1 league triumph at Chievo with 1-0 victory over Inter Milan on Wednesday to reach the last four of the Coppa Italia.

Napoli, who lifted the Coppa last season, will meet Lazio in the two-legged semi-final next month and coach Benitez is understandably pleased with the way things are going for his team.

However, he is also determined to ensure they continue their good form for as long as possible, telling the Italian press: “We are on the right path and we have to give continuity to our results.

“The players are working so hard and are being rewarded on the pitch.”

Benitez was also full of praise for Argentinian forward Gonzalo Higuain, who struck his 18th goal of the campaign for Napoli in midweek.

“Gonzalo is a champion,” Benitez said. “We knew it when we signed him.

“I have coached many great players in my career, even (former Real Madrid and Spain striker) Raul and I have to say that Higuain is among the best forwards in the world.”

Higuain is the second leading scorer in Serie A with 12 league goals, one less than Juventus striker Carlos Tevez.

Napoli are riding a three-match winning streak in Serie A and their good form has seen the Naples outfit strengthen their grip on third spot.

They are five points clear of Champions League-chasing Lazio and Sampdoria and four points adrift of second-place Roma.

Udinese travel to the San Paolo stadium having held league leaders Juventus to a goalless draw last time out.

That result extended Udinese’s unbeaten run to four games and lifted them to 12th in the standings.

Udinese coach Andrea Stramaccioni faces a dilemma in attack this weekend, though, with top scorer Antonio Di Natale and forward Panagiotis Kone both suspended.

To complicate matters for the Udine side, attacking trio Alexis Zapata, Alexandre Geijo and Rodrigo Aguirre are unavailable through injury.

French forward Cyril Thereau is set to lead the Udinese attack on Sunday.