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Napoli coach refuses to condemn the performances of his players after the Partenopei were consigned to the Europa League despite racking up 12 points in Group F

Rafa Benitez insists he remains proud of his Napoli players, even though they failed to advance into the knockout stages of the Champions League.

The Partenopei defeated Arsenal 2-0 in their final Group F fixture but despite finishing level on points with both Borussia Dortmund and the Gunners, they became the first team in the history of the tournament to bow out having amassed 12 points.

Consequently, Benitez says his side have no reason to feel ashamed of their early elimination from Europe's premier club cup competition.

"We picked up 12 points, beat Arsenal and Borussia Dortmund but still didn't qualify," the 53-year-old told Sky Sports.

"But everyone should be proud of these guys, we have put in a tremendous effort.

"Today we have seen on the pitch that there is a project going on here, and this team is growing."

The Spaniard also said he would be keen to see some new faces arrive during the January transfer window.

"We want to strengthen over time, so we will be looking at players of a particular age and ability that fit in with what we are trying to create," the former Liverpool boss explained.

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