Sunday January 5 2014
Benitez: 'Sinisa inspires Samp'

Rafa Benitez explained Napoli’s injury crisis and joked Sampdoria Coach Sinisa Mihajlovic “might want to take some free kicks!”

The Partenopei open Monday’s Serie A games at 11.30 GMT, click here for a match preview.

“What do I expect from 2014? I want to continue along this path, playing well as we have done many times,” said the Spanish tactician in his Press conference.

“I won’t talk about the transfer market, but I’ll just say we don’t need to sell because we are economically strong, so we can afford to keep top players. I do think the window should be shortened, as it goes on for too long.

“Juan Mata, David Luiz or Javier Mascherano? We have no deals. In order to reach these players we’d have to win something first, then they’d consider a move. Only 10 per cent of the names mentioned around us are accurate.”

Benitez has reportedly been tracking defenders such as Liverpool’s Daniel Agger, but insisted there was no need.

“I watched the Premier League this week and can assure you they don’t have a defender as good as Raul Albiol. I see Miguel Angel Britos and Federico Fernandez, so it’s difficult to find anyone better on the market.

“Duvan Zapata is doing well and will remain with us.”

Marek Hamsik is still out of action along with Pepe Reina, Valon Behrami, Paolo Cannavaro, Juan Zuniga and Giandomenico Mesto.

“Hamsik has been training well, but we decided to wait and not run any risks, seeing the type of injury he had.”

Sampdoria are still unbeaten under Mihajlovic and the former Lazio and Inter player is a threat for more than one reason.

“Samp have a new Coach with a lot of character. I just hope Mihajlovic stays on the bench, as he might want to step on to the field and take some free kicks!”

This evening top two teams Juventus and Roma go head-to-head, so who is Benitez cheering on?

“I don’t think about that, as my only concern is beating Sampdoria.”

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