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As Italian teams continue to struggle in European competitions, the Napoli coach suggests Spanish, German and English leagues have superior match speed

Napoli boss Rafa Benitez believes that Serie A suffers in Europe because Italian football is not based around a fast tempo as other leagues are.

Only once in six seasons has an Italian team (Inter in 2009-10) reached the last four of the Champions League, while Juventus, AC Milan and Napoli all crashed out this season before the quarter-final stage.

Benitez, whose Partenopei were unlucky to be eliminated in the group stage behind Borussia Dortmund and Arsenal this term, believes the focus on speed of play rather than territorial dominance in England, Spain and Germany has left Serie A in the dust continentally.

"To be fair, I am a little bit disappointed," the Spaniard told Perform. "We got 12 points this year and we couldn't progress in the Champions League.

"Maybe the main difference is the tempo. When we talk about high tempo we talk about the Premier League, even La Liga and the Bundesliga. Physically in Germany they are strong and they play with high tempo.

"In Spain you can see the pace of the game. And here in Italy, it's more to control games and maybe after when you go to another level it is quite difficult."

With the Coppa Italia up for grabs this weekend, Benitez has been encouraged by Napoli's season and suggested his team have a lot of potential to succeed in future years.

"Italy is a difficult country in terms of football because everybody likes football, everybody has passion and the style of football is you have to control the games and it is not easy," the ex-Liverpool boss added.

"So to be where we are at the moment, with more points than in the history of Napoli, plus to be in the final of the cup ... I think it's really important because it is part of the promise of this club."

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