They failed to get the win their bright, inventive football probably deserved, but there was still a lot of pride in the Swansea City AFC camp after their goalless draw with SSC Napoli in the first leg of their UEFA Europa League round of 32 tie.
Following a display that had everything but a goal to show for some excellent approach play, long-serving Swansea midfielder Leon Britton said that the Welsh side had fulfilled their rookie manager Garry Monk's wish that they show no fear. As for Napoli's Pepe Reina and Marek Hamšik, they voiced their satisfaction with the result, if not the performance.
Leon Britton, Swansea midfielder
We are proud of the performance. We played some very good stuff with quite a few chances and dominated possession. We're gutted we didn't get the win and the goal, but at the same time we didn't concede so it's not a bad result. They'll be the favourites in their own backyard, but we will go there with confidence. We haven't conceded and if we get an away goal they have to get two, so it is not the worst result for us.
[Napoli] were unlucky to get knocked out of the Champions League so we knew what we were up against, but at home we want to get back to making this stadium a very tough place for away teams to come and tonight we made it very difficult for them and limited their chances. On another night we had a good few chances we might have put away.
We have got quality in this team and believe in ourselves and the way the manager has set us out to play – to press high up the pitch, win the ball back when we lose it very quickly. We have that belief in ourselves and that showed tonight. [Head coach Garry Monk] said: "Look there is no fear, we have nothing to fear, a lot of people are writing us off against Napoli but we need to believe that we can achieve something," and that transferred to the players out on the pitch.
Pablo Hernández, Swansea midfielder
We deserved to win, we created a lot of chances. They hardly threatened us and when you have so many chances and don't get the win, you end up a bit disappointed. However, we put on a great performance and showed we can match any team in Europe – after all, Napoli are one of the big teams. The important thing is we didn't concede and it's still 50-50 with everything to play for over there.
It may be a different game. They will have to come out more and look for goals, as today they didn't really do much more than defend, but we showed we can get through to the next round. We keep the ball but try to move it quickly; we know when teams sit back that it is hard to find spaces, but today the game plan worked out almost perfectly apart from taking our chances.
Pepe Reina, Napoli goalkeeper
The tie is open, but if you want to get through the minimum you have to do is win at home, and that is what we need to do now. Swansea played well. We knew what we were up against and they play good football, especially at home – they keep the ball and it is hard. We defended well and even had a few chances for an away goal, but, in the end, the best thing about tonight is the result. #
There are no favourites – it is 0-0 and what we have to do is win [in Naples]. With our fans behind us, it will be a bit easier.
Marek Hamšik, Napoli midfielder
It was a good result, but our play wasn't so good. We have to improve before next week and there is a lot to work on. Swansea dominated possession and protected the ball well. Today we didn't work hard enough and we have to be more positive.
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