From what I've read I believe the Italian problems sumerised in no particular order as: Lack of radar combined with the fact that post WW1 the RN had trained a lot for night actions put the Italians at a mark disadvantage during the hours of darkness. See Battle of Cape Matapan as a case in point where battleships managed to sneak up on cruisers Lack of aircover. The Italians never got a carrier into service plus co operation with the airforce was poor at best. Lack of Confidence. There were times they had the advantage but they didn't press it home.