Napoli sports chief Pierpaolo Marino admits he's been surprised by how his young team has handled the pressure of playing in Serie A.

"At the beginning of the season we were criticized a bit by everyone, but it was a good learning experience," said Marino. "The only concern was the younger players would become unsettled and scared. That there was a bit of apprehension was also normal, the generations that have seen me operate in the early years at Napoli are no longer dominant because in the stadium today are those who have not had the fortune of seeing the great Maradona.

"The only concern was that Ezequiel Lavezzi could be unsettled by the hype, but I have always seen him as a calm character. The fear is always that a player might not be psychologically ready, as happened when I took Fabrizio Ravanelli, at just 17, to Avellino."