Keeper Morgan De Sanctis was frustrated SSC Napoli's 3-1 win against Chelsea FC was not more convincing but goalscorer Edinson Cavani said their display was "extraordinary".
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Despite the euphoria surrounding SSC Napoli after the 3-1 home win against Chelsea FC in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League round of 16 tie, goalkeeper Morgan De Sanctis told UEFA.com: "It is a good result but we are not fully happy because we could have added a fourth."
Juan Mata gave Chelsea a 27th-minute lead at a packed Stadio San Paolo but Napoli responded with two goals from Ezequiel Lavezzi and one from Edinson Cavani. They could have had a bigger cushion to take to London on 14 March had Ashley Cole not cleared Christian Maggio's 80th-minute shot off the line.
"Three-nil or 4-1 would have been a perfect result," De Sanctis said. "We will travel to London with confidence but we know that, by then, players like Frank Lampard and Michael Essien could be in a better physical condition than today. However, Chelsea will certainly need to attack and will be forced to leave us openings. We will have to exploit them with the pace of our forwards."
De Sanctis also acknowledged that Chelsea had opportunities to score more than one away goal. "They are a great side," the 34-year-old continued. "It was important not to concede but I think that until Mata's goal Napoli were clearly the better side. That goal was just an incident but fortunately this team proved once again we have great character. How far can we go in the competition? For the moment we are only going to Stamford Bridge to give our best and try to reach the quarter-finals."
That Napoli have every chance of doing so is down to the two goalscorers. De Sanctis added: "'Il Pocho' [Lavezzi] knows he has to take that final step and become a player who can score 15 or 20 goals a season, but he is training hard every day to become more clinical in front of goal. We can count on him and we count on Edinson Cavani, on Marek Hamšík and Goran Pandev because we know that our attackers can take us a long way."
Chelsea have learned that the hard way, yet Lavezzi also considers the tie far from over. "Chelsea are very strong and it's not over yet but we have a good advantage now I have to admit," explained the 26-year-old Argentinian international, who had never scored in the UEFA Champions League before. "Now we have to go there and have another great match, try to score some goals and close the tie."
Meanwhile, it was a fifth goal in seven UEFA Champions League outings for Cavani, who said: "The whole team played an extraordinary game. When we entered the dressing room afterwards we realised we had just beaten one of the powerhouses of Europe. We are all happy and proud."