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Benitez: 'I am consistent rather than courageous'

A first-half Goran Pandev brace was enough to get the Naples club the three points and move them one point clear of Roma, who have a game in hand.

It was necessary for Napoli to bounce back positively after slumping to a home draw against Sassuolo last start - which was the latter's only point in five.

And Benitez acknowledged that while turning their form around quickly from the mid-week disappointment was necessary, so was keeping his squad fresh and motivated in the infancy of a long campaign.

The Spanish tactician left out Gonzalo Higuain and Marek Hamsik for the clash at the Luigi Ferraris, handing Duvan Zapata a start in attack - but it did not stop Napoli from earning a comfortable win.

"I am consistent rather than courageous," Benitez told Sky Sport Italia.

"I have experience and have been in Europe many times, so I know squad rotation is necessary to make everyone in the side stronger. The team won with character.

"It's no secret that Pandev prefers playing in the centre. He was there today and scored, so he has no excuse."

Despite keeping a clean sheet, and having conceded just four goals in six, Benitez said there were still some cracks in Napoli's defence.

"I didn't like some things in defence, as we allowed too many crosses into the box, but it's not easy in these conditions," Benitez said.

"I thought the game was closer to 3-0 than 2-1 all the way through.

"Many of our players cause problems for the opposition, whether they score or not. Duvan created a lot of space for the wingers today."

Benitez said Napoli's supporter base was putting high expectations on the squad after a strong transfer window for the club.

"It is tougher for the fans, as they see the team winning almost every game and think we can win everything. We know that's not the case," he said.

"With the players we look at the good work we've done and the bad things, so they know we are now at 75 per cent."