Luciano Spalletti saw positive signs from his Napoli side despite a 1-0 defeat to Lazio on Friday.
Matias Vecino's stunning effort condemned the Serie A leaders to only a second league defeat of the season and their first at Stadio Diego Armando Maradona.
Despite the loss, which brought an end to an eight-match winning streak, Napoli retain a 17-point lead at the summit and Spalletti was happy with his side's desire.
"I expected such an attitude from the Biancocelesti, they are very compact and always move en bloc," he told DAZN.
"We made the choices in the worst way ever, but I saw a good attitude, the right application and desire, and these are the fundamental things."
Defeat for Spalletti came at the hands of a player he knows well, having managed Vecino during the pair's time at Inter, and he issued praise to his former midfielder.
"Lazio defended well, they were lucky on Victor Osimhen's header and we were naive about Vecino's goal. Then the ball found that corner," he added.
"But I congratulate Vecino, he is a great professional and a great footballer. Did he betray me? I wouldn't say, everyone has to do their job without thinking about the relationship that there was previously."
1 - Napoli have lost a Serie A match at Maradona for the first time since 10th April 2022; since then, 12 wins and 2 draws for the Partenopei. Route.#NapoliLazio #SerieA— OptaPaolo (@OptaPaolo) March 3, 2023