Benitez 'optimistic' over Napoli progress

​Rafael Benitez is confident Napoli are primed for a strong second half of the season after extending their unbeaten run to 10 league games.

A 90th-minute header from Duvan Zapata rescued a point for 10-man Napoli against Sampdoria after they had fallen behind to Eder's third goal of the season and seen Kalidou Koulibaly sent off.

The point keeps Benitez's side in third place in the Serie A table, eight points adrift of Juventus and Roma after 13 games.

Benitez acknowledged there are still areas his side must improve, but he was delighted with the battling qualities on show at the Luigi Ferraris, and is optimistic about their chances of holding onto the final UEFA Champions League place.

"We knew from the start this could be a difficult season," the coach told Sky Sport Italia. "We know our strengths and where we have to improve. 

"I am optimistic for the future, but the team has to look at individual objectives in every game and not look forward to other fixtures or the table.

"The team is unbeaten in 10 games, so in the circumstances I'd call that positive."