ROME (Reuters) - The European Central Bank should discuss with Italy the reasons behind its assessment that Banca Monte dei Paschi <BMPS.MI> had a greater need for capital than previously thought, Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni said on Thursday.


"It is important that the motives for this assessment are shared in discussions in the coming months," Gentiloni told a news conference.


He added he had been surprised on Dec. 25 to receive news that the regulator wanted Monte Paschi to plug a capital shortfall of 8.8 billion euros ($9.2 billion), higher than a previous estimate of 5 billion euros.


($1 = 0.9565 euros)


(Reporting by Giselda Vagnoni, writing by Isla Binnie, editing by Gavin Jones)