Rudi Garcia hailed Napoli for taking their lone clear chance in a largely uninspiring Champions League win over Union Berlin.
Giacomo Raspadori poached the only goal of the game after excellent work by player of the match Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, with the Bundesliga side having had the better of the game for long periods in front of a raucous crowd at the Olympiastadion.
Napoli coach Garcia told the club’s website: “We won with anger, patience, the desire to prevail and also intelligence.
“Right before we started we knew that we would be facing a complicated match. But we were calm, we never really suffered any danger, but it’s also true that in the first half we created little, also because on this heavy pitch it was difficult.
“Then in the second half with patience and intelligence we found the way to the goal. Kvara’s action and Raspa’s turn were beautiful from a technical point of view. A beautiful goal that I liked both for the assist and for the conclusion.
“We are a team that knows how to play the ball but also knows how to run and fight. These are the main characteristics with which we must continue our journey.”
Napoli lie second in Group C and Kvaratskhelia told uefa.com: “The group looks good but we must still focus on the other games and try to win those.
“Thanks for choosing me as player of the match today, but other players were very important too – and next time it could be someone else who wins it.”
The goal came when Mario Rui won the ball well and fed the Georgian on the left. His first cross was cleared back to him but he took on Christopher Trimmel and teed up Raspadori six yards out to finish decisively.
Union had a goal disallowed in the first half, with the impressive David Datro Fofana flagged offside after setting up Janik Haberer, and largely kept their Serie A opponents at arm’s length but remain bottom of the group after a third straight loss.
Coach Urs Fischer told uefa.com: “I’m disappointed. We put in so much to restrict them to just one shot on goal, and we still lost 1-0.
“Despite that, we did a lot well. We weren’t missing too much today.
“The group table doesn’t look good, of course. It’s almost impossible to qualify but that’s the situation we find ourselves in.
“We hoped to get a result but it didn’t come off. Still, I’m really proud of our performance today.”