France coach Fabien Galthie said Sunday's tight 29-24 Six Nations win over Italy left a "bitter taste" despite taking Les Bleus' Test match winning streak to 14 matches.
France claimed a bonus point in Rome after scoring four tries but last year's Grand Slam winners were pushed all the way by the Italians, who showed why they are aiming for at least two wins in this year's tournament.
Three of France's tries came in the first 26 minutes but they let their tight grip loosen as the match wore on.
"On one hand we're satisfied to have won the match and to have earned the bonus point. But it was a mixed performance which left us with a bit of a bitter taste in our mouths," Galthie told reporters.
France conceded 18 penalties at the Stadio Olimpico.
Tommaso Allan kicked four penalties while the Italians were also awarded a penalty try.
"Every time the opponent gets the ball we move back 30 metres, and we moved back a lot," added Galthie.
"It took a lot from our collective performance."
Italy coach Kieran Crowley said after the match that he wanted "recognition" for the way his young team played.
In particular, he was pleased how his players grew into the game after initially looking like they were going to be blown away.
However, captain Michele Lamaro highlighted the errors which led to the Azzurri having to fight back from 19-6 down with less than half an hour played.
"Today we put ourselves in trouble on our own, we didn't manage to get past their pressure," said Lamaro.
"We were very disciplined in defence, many times we were able to withstand their pressure and push it back onto them, but I think we can definitely improve on this performance.
"Once upon a time at 19-6 we would have had huge problems staying in the match... we believe in ourselves and our play and that helps us over the course of the match."
Ange Capuozzo scored Italy's other try just before half-time and after continuing his good French Top 14 form against the country of his birth he described Sunday's match as an "encouraging defeat".
"We were up against the best team in the world who hadn't lost in 13 matches and we looked them right in the eyes for 80 minutes," Capuzzo told reporters.
"We lacked a bit of precision and it cost us heavily."