Napoli coach Maurizio Sarri was understandably delighted with their 4-2 Champions League victory over Benfica but conceded the late goals they conceded left a bitter taste.
Marek Hamsik gave Napoli a first-half lead at Stadio San Paolo, before Dries Mertens scored two and Arkadiusz Milik added a penalty in the space of just seven minutes shortly after the break.
Goncalo Guedes and Eduardo Salvio salvaged some pride for the Portuguese side with late goals, but they could not prevent the hosts from making it two wins from two.
“I’m happy for the guys because to beat a team like Benfica is not simple,” Sarri said.
“Conceding the two goals, that leaves a bit of a bitter taste for me, but at least it happened at the right time when we were 4-0 up.
“In the Champions League you pay for every mistake that you make.
“I was very pleased with some of the things I saw, such as after Mertens’ goal, [Lorenzo] Insigne making a run of 80 metres to embrace him. That was a good sign for the group.”
Sarri’s sentiments were echoed by opening goalscorer Hamsik who called upon his teammates to continue the impressive form that they have shown both in Europe and Serie A this season.
“It was a great win against a top European opponent,” he said.
“My goal was important to unlock them and then, when we scored all those goals in a few second-half minutes, I realised we were going to win a spectacular victory.
“It’s a shame about the end, when we conceded two avoidable goals, but we are satisfied with this start to the season and want to continue like this.
“There is one more game and then the break for international duty, so then we’ll have a look at where we are.
“Napoli are alive and kicking.”
Sarri’s side return to domestic action on Sunday with a trip to struggling Atalanta.
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