Napoli manager, Maurizio Sarri, has admitted that Manchester City made it tough for them, in their 2-1 defeat in the Champions League on Tuesday night at the Etihad.
Sarri however insisted that it could have been a different result, if Dries Mertens did not miss a first-half spot-kick.
Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus gave City an early two-goal lead, before Amadou Diawara pulled one back in the second half from the penalty spot.
Napoli have now lost two of their games in this year’s group stages, despite making a perfect start to the Serie A campign with eight wins out of eight.
“We managed to fight back and not many teams at the moment are able to come back in the way we did and cause difficulties for Man City,” Sarri said.
“We regret fact we missed the first penalty, but we know now that we are on the right path to be competitive in Europe as well.
“I’ve seen a huge step forward compared with the match in Real Madrid last year when we were lucky enough to score first. Here we had to come back into the game from a very difficult situation after the first 25 minutes. I think we’ve definitely taken a step forward.
“Our opponents were very strong and made it tough for us. I think City are serious contenders. They have an extraordinary team with extremely positive qualities – they are quick, they are tactically savvy. If they can maintain their physical and mental shape as they are now they can really go all the way.”