Marek Hamsik hails 'most beautiful Napoli side of the last decade'
Marek Hamsik believes Napoli are playing the best football they have in his decade at the club, following a 2-1 victory away to Dynamo Kiev in the Champions League on Tuesday.
Hamsik, who joined Napoli from Brescia in 2007, is playing in the group stage for the third time in his career, and backed the club to repeat the feat of the 2011-12 squad in reaching the knockout stage.
"I have been at Napoli for 10 years, but I think we're now playing the best football in my time here," the captain told Mediaset. "I'm having fun and we all are in the squad. This is the most beautiful Napoli side of the last decade.
"Maurizio Sarri waited his whole life to play a Champions League match and he's now enjoying the moment."
Sarri, who took over the club before last season, said his side appeared a bit nervous in their first test on Europe's biggest stage.
"We played well in fits and starts, but I really don't like that. I got the feeling some players were a little over-awed with the occasion," the manager said. "There were a few more errors than usual, hopefully down to the emotion and tension of such an important match.
"After taking the lead, we remained in the perennial uncertainty between wanting to finish it off or control the lead. We discussed it in the locker room and I am happy that they see it the same way I do -- they weren't very happy with the performance.
"The fact remains winning our first Champions League game of the season away from home is a precious result. We broke the ice, but have a lot to learn from this match."
A pair of Arkadiusz Milik headers in the first half was enough to seal the win in Group B, and the Poland international said he was thrilled to come away with all three points.
"It was a magical night for me and for Napoli. I scored two goals and am very happy," Milik said. "I said yesterday in the press conference, we wanted to come here and win, albeit aware we were facing a strong opponent. It was indeed tough. We return to Italy with a smile on our faces."
Milik faced the challenging task of replacing Gonzalo Higuain at the top of Napoli's attack, and he downplayed his accomplishments despite early success at his new club.
"I know the fans are crazy about me, but it is only my fourth game with Napoli and the first in Europe," he said.
Dynamo Kyiv coach Serhiy Rebrov said he was disappointed with the result but praised his team's "great commitment."
"We tried to play compact and keep our structure but after we scored our guys probably tried to save the result and that was a mistake," he said.
"I saw that Sarri studied our team very well. Napoli knew how to play against us; they played very wide and made good crosses. They created spaces behind our defenders and used them effectively."