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Benitez demands more clinical Napoli

A Dries Mertens brace early in the second half saw off the plucky Sampdoria, who fell to their first loss in six top-flight matches.

The Spanish tactician was not completely satisfied though, saying he would prefer to be more comfortable at half-time in matches.

"The team had many scoring opportunities and could've made the difference in the first half. The game was more open in the second and they caused us problems, but we got the goals," Benitez told Sky Sport Italia.

"Yesterday Mertens practiced free-kicks and we know Gonzalo Higuain is very good at finding his team-mates.

"I would like to see us stronger in defence and quicker at finishing games off, but it's reassuring to see such attacking football.

"This is an attack-minded team and it's something we have to take into account when looking at how we defend."

First-choice attacker Marek Hamsik has been sidelined by a foot injury since coming on as a second-half substitute in their 1-0 loss to Parma in November, but Benitez said he is confident his squad depth can continue to cover the Slovakian's absence.

"Marek did very well at the start of the season playing behind the striker," Benitez said.

"He needs to get back to 100 per cent fitness, but Goran Pandev, Jose Callejon or Hamsik can all play there.

"It's just a matter of finding the right balance."

On reports linking the Naples club to Cagliari midfielder Radja Nainggolan, Benitez said he did not know the Belgian's transfer value.

"I said we are working, but the transfer market is tough at the moment," he said.

"If there are excellent players available, then they are too expensive. It's difficult to find the right balance."