Napoli Manager Maurizio Sarri praised his Azzurri side as they closed the gap on Juventus at the top of Serie A to just two points.
The Partenopei only managed to pick up a single point in the last two games but Sarri’s side got back to winning ways with a 1-0 victory over Genoa.
Sarri spoke to Mediaset Premium after the game and made it clear that the win was hard-fought.
“We are clearly above where we expected to be. This was an important game, we were coming back from two matches without a win, although I felt our performance against Inter was underestimated.
“It was very difficult this evening, you just had to read Genoa’s statistics away from home, as they concede very few on their travels. They had some very strong recent results, so it was entirely obvious this was going to be a difficult match.
“We were up against a team that was clammed up in defence and dangerous on the counter. We didn’t move the ball quickly enough until the last 20 minutes of the first half and we did it in fits and starts in the second half.
“A dead ball situation was one of the few options we had to break this Genoa defence down. Our best chances with Dries Mertens and Allan came from our usual quick passing game, but we only did it at times. It wasn’t easy with the way Genoa were set out.
“We’ve been talking all week about the need for patience against Genoa”.
With nine rounds left to play in Serie A, which includes a head-to-head against Juventus at the Allianz Stadium.
“At this stage last season, Juventus had basically already won the title, so this means we are causing them real problems. It’ll be very difficult”.
Sarri was asked “If Napoli should emerge victorious over Juventus is the Scudetto theirs to lose?”
“It’s hard to say. If it was up to me, we’d march on the palace and take back power, but we can only try to go as far as possible and do as well as possible.
“This is already the second best campaign in Napoli’s history in terms of points, so we’ll keep pushing”.
Napoli Captain Marek Hamšík caused some concern though as he went off injured after 20 minutes.
“Hamsik felt a flexor issue and the break for international duty probably comes at the right time for him. Of course, it’s a break only in relative terms, seeing as we have 10-15 players flying all over the world. I think the players find it even more tiring than playing every three days, as some have to cross continents”.