Carlo Ancelotti praised his side's maturity as they ensured they didn't fall further behind Serie A leaders Juventus on Monday night, seeing off a determined Atalanta side at the Stadio Atleti Azzurri d'Italia.
Under pressure after drawing in their last time out against Chievo, Napoli took the lead after just 76 seconds, as midfielder Fabian Ruiz fired home from Lorenzo Insgine's weighted pass. Duvan Zapata equalised for the hosts after the restart, but I Partenopei managed to secure all three points as substitute Arkadiusz Milik smashed home from a tight angle late on to seal the victory.
Speaking to Sky Italia after the match (via Football Italia), Ancelotti said: “We knew Atalanta play very dynamic and aggressive football, so it was tough.
"We played a slightly different game than we had expected, as we took the lead so early and allowed Atalanta to come forward. They pushed hard and deserved the equaliser, but then a different match opened up.
“Probably the energy they spent to get back into it left them fatigued and we had more left in the tank to win.
“I love attacking football, but it’s not as if I dislike defending! We attack when we need to and defend when we need to. It wasn’t something we were accustomed to, defending so much here, but Atalanta pushed us into that attitude with their pressure.
“Everyone wants champagne football, but there are the opponents to deal with too and this performance was a show of maturity. I also want to point out the atmosphere was wonderful, it was a festival of sport for everyone and the Atalanta fans sent a wonderful signal as to what games should be like, both on and off the field.”
Ancelotti also praised Milik's impact on the game as the striker was introduced late on with the score level, adding: "All those who came off the bench made a difference. It’s a very, very important goal for all of us. Milik went through a difficult period because he didn’t play consistently, but he remained motivated and concentrated, so deserves this joy.”
Napoli will host Frosinone who sit in 19th position in the Serie A, as they hope to keep the pressure on the Juventus and build momentum before the crucial Champions League fixture against Liverpool on Tuesday.