Francesco Calzona confirms Napoli‘s main problem is ‘psychological’ while Khvicha Kvaratskhelia is ‘so focused’ that he ‘forgets about his quality’ sometimes.

The Partenopei were held to a 1-1 draw by Serie A strugglers Cagliari at the Unipol Domus on Sunday on Calzona’s Serie A debut as Napoli coach.

Victor Osimhen scored his second goal in two matches, but it was not enough for the Partenopei to secure a much-needed victory.

“We knew Cagliari tended to start strong at home and finish well too, so we were prepared,” Calzona told DAZN.

“We lost possession too many times, which affected us in the first half. The second half was better; we had two chances to kill off the game, but we didn’t do it. At least we were organised, which is important for how I see football.

“We had to be more clinical and we had to be more focused on a ball that was kicked from the centre circle [leading to Cagliari’s late equaliser],” continued the Italian tactician.

“I had introduced Leo Ostigard because he is strong on headers and I knew this could happen in the final minutes.

“We start again tomorrow, from the organisation and the fact that the game management after our goal was decent. Unfortunately, there’s nothing else we can do.”

Napoli have already changed three coaches this season and Calzona returned to the club last week after serving as an assistant to Maurizio Sarri and Luciano Spalletti in the past. Has he realised which is the biggest issue for the team at this stage of the season?

“The problem is the mentality,” insisted Calzona.

“The team is in good shape and they proved it today and the other night [against Barcelona]. We knew it would be a dirty game, with strong wind and long grass, so we had to have a better approach.

“I’ve talked to the players. I’ve found an available group. We need time to solve all problems, but I know there isn’t much time, so we must push to find a better psychological condition. I was surprised by the players’ availability. Of course, we all depend on the results. We don’t look for excuses, I must put the team in the best condition to do well and reach a good shape.”

Kvaratskhelia was replaced again in the second half, but Calzona defended the Georgian star.

“I can say that he does all he can to do what I want. He is so focused that sometimes he forgets about his quality. He is very shy, he doesn’t talk much, but he is available and I think he will soon help us,” said the coach.”

With 4th-placed Bologna 11 points above Napoli in the Serie A table, what’s the Partenopei’s target this season?

“Of course, in this situation, we must focus on one game at a time. It’s useless to make projects. We must play one game at a time and see where we are at the end of the season. We’d love to go as far as possible and we must aim for the highest target,” insisted Calzona.

Osimhen scored his second goal in two matches under the 55-year-old but was subbed off in the second half.

“He was only tired. Victor is a fantastic guy. He scored two goals in two matches and will slowly get back in shape,” said the Partenopei boss.

“Don’t forget he played at AFCON. Players are devastated when they return. He was tired also against Barcelona, but players always want to stay on the pitch.”

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