Rafael Benitez plays down Manchester City link

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Napoli manager Rafael Benitez has dismissed reports linking him with the Manchester City job, should the club lose faith with Manuel Pellegrini, reports ESPN.

Benitez joined Napoli in the summer of 2013 and quickly became popular with the fans after leading the side to the Coppa Italia title and a third place Serie A finish.

Contract mystery

But with the former Liverpool and Chelsea manager yet to sign a contract extension with the Italian heavyweights and his contract coming to an end this summer, reports have linked him with a return to the Premier League.

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And it is Manchester City that have been strongly linked with the Spaniard, as Chilean manager Manuel Pellegrini comes under increasing pressure.

There is talk of unrest in the Manchester City dressing room following Yaya Toures’ agents’ comments this week, but nothing has been decided about his future.

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Happy in Italy

However, Rafael has dismissed the link, insisting he is focused on what happens on the pitch with Napoli. 

"I have not had contact with City, unlike what I've read in England," Benitez told the Italian press.

"I have spoken to the [Napoli] president via messages but we have not been able to meet due to our busy playing schedule in order to evaluate the business plan. Now our focus is on matters on the pitch,” Benitez said.

Strong finish

Napoli currently sit fourth in Serie A and are firmly on-track to reach the Europa League semi-final.

Benitez’s side go into their second leg with Wolfsburg on Thursday and carry a 4-1 advantage with them after brushing the Bundesliga aside in Germany.

Benitez also pointed out how crucial Champions League qualification would be to the Partenopei. 

"We can fight until the end for all of our aims,'' Benitez said. "We can still qualify for the Champions league, whether it is by winning the Europa League or by finishing in the top three of Serie A.

"We all know how crucial qualification for the Champions League would be in terms of future investments.''

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