Maurizio Sarri felt Napoli were unlucky to lose at Villarreal, especially as “we were denied a clear penalty.”
A late Denis Suarez free kick proved the difference in Spain, only the fourth goal the Partenopei have conceded in seven Europa League games.
“We put in a decent performance, we didn’t feel that we were likely to lose in an arena where Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid were defeated,” Sarri told Sky Sport Italia.
“We lost on a set play, after we were denied a pretty clear penalty in our favour. It’s a period where things aren’t quite going our way, but we have another 90 minutes at the San Paolo to turn this around.
“Villarreal are strong opponents, but if the San Paolo crowd gives us a hand, then we can do it. We took the initiative here and did pretty well defensively too, allowing them very little on their own turf.
“The penalty was painful, because Bruno Soriano increased the size of his body to block the ball. Mind you, it’s understandable considering the referee was below par throughout.
“In our last two games against Juventus and Villarreal we’ve had control, but have been penalised. I’d be more worried if we suffered for 90 minutes, but that was not the case.
“The team just made some bad choices in the final third and we wasted several chances to potentially cause problems.
“As we have Milan coming up on Monday night, we cannot squeeze the life out of our players. We put out a competitive team and I would make all the same choices again.”