Luciano Spalletti explains why Napoli were able to win the Scudetto with ‘contagious’ enthusiasm, while reminding people he was criticised for Wojciech Szczesny and Alisson Becker at Roma.

The Italy coach was at the Sport Human Factor event in Rome and inevitably there were questions about his former club.

It seems incredible that basically the same team fresh from winning the Serie A title last season should this term be struggling just to qualify for the Conference League.

“Naturally, I am sad at the year my ex-team is experiencing,” said Spalletti.

“You need to recruit all the strengths at your disposal, so you never depend on a single person, but on many people and many details. In that environment, we had managed to involve lots of people with contagious enthusiasm for the same objective.

“That allowed us to find things within ourselves, create this organisation and order on and off the field, which becomes an important quality for a team.

“We had ‘I will be with you’ written on our shirts to involve not just those on the field or in the stands, but also those little old grandfathers who sit on the benches in the Spanish Quarter, as if to say we are all important for the results of this team.”

Napoli have barely changed the squad itself, but are now on their third coach of the campaign with Francesco Calzona, who was hired in an interim role after Rudy Garcia and Walter Mazzarri were sacked.

Roma critics still rile Spalletti

Spalletti did not win the Scudetto at Roma, but came very close, and feels he was never quite appreciated there, especially after the second experience ended with the tension of Francesco Totti’s retirement.

Looking back, the coach points out a few other decisions that were underestimated in the long run.

“At Roma I had Szczesny and Alisson, so for many people I had failed with them both, or they were both useless. Instead, they both had great performances and we were confident they were both champions.

“I treated them as such and, because of that, they thanked me for the way I used them.”

Szczesny went on to star at Juventus, while Alisson was sold on to Liverpool for €62.5m plus up to another €10m in bonuses.

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