One of the problems that has plagued Napoli this season is a lack of cohesiveness on the pitch. There's been times this season that the players have looked like eleven guys trying to win the match on their own rather than a single team unit working together to get the job done.
Today, that changed. The performance wasn't as pretty as Napoli fans like to see, but it was disciplined, it was cohesive, and it got the team a desperately-needed win. Thanks to that difference in play, Rafa Benitez couldn't be happier with the performance and the result.
"I see this as a victory for the team that rewarded our mentality," Rafa told reporters after the match. "Today we were all united and we earned three important points. We worked very well in defence and Sassuolo only created problems with long balls. We were balanced."
Rafa went on to praise the performance of Gonzalo Higuain, saying that it was OK that the Argentine striker doesn't have a goal yet if he can keep helping the team with assists like the one he provided today. Higuain's ability to pick a quality pass in the box really came in to the forefront last season, and with days like today it's good to see that he hasn't lost that touch when it's needed.
Of course, Sassuolo manager Eusebio Di Francesco saw things a little differently than Rafa did as far as the match was concered. "I think the result is unfair considering what we saw on the field," he said in his press conference after the match. "We deserved something more. [...] Tell me one save that [Andrea] Consigli had to make."
Well, I can definitely tell you about one save that he had to make and didn't...