Marcelino claimed Villarreal beat “the best team in Italy” after they defeated Napoli 1-0 in the Europa League last 32 on Thursday.
Denis Suarez’s lone strike was enough to leave the Yellow Submarine in charge of their knockout tie, with the Partenopei now needing to score twice in the return leg at El Madrigal, having failed to register an away goal.
“It was a great match from the team and left everyone happy,” the Coach said after the game.
“The game showed the campaigns both teams were having and two sides with many capabilities and great intensity.
“I expected it to be so as both teams had been playing at a high level and therefore it pointed a great game and a very intense affair for 90 minutes.
“We knew it’d be a very difficult and intense game, with a lot of wear and tear, and we knew we’d need to have a great performance to win.
“We knew our opponents’ level and ability, and we saw that on the pitch..
“We showed we were at a high level in regards to competing, and you must be very strong to compete with Napoli.
“For me, they’re collectively the best and most efficient team in Italy.
“The tie is now 60-40 in our favour, since the winners have the advantage.
“This goal requires them to score two goals and us not to score, but neither team think it’ll be easy.
“[On his team’s defence], considering the level and complexity of our opponents, they didn’t have many chances.
“[Jonathan dos Santos’ injury] was the worst news of the match as he’s an important player who was playing at a high level.”