Spalletti: ‘Napoli never lost their heads’

Luciano Spalletti

Luciano Spalletti praised Napoli for showing ‘patience and organisation’ to break down Legia Warsaw and explained how they are improving Victor Osimhen.

The Partenopei knew this was a must-win match after one point from the first two Europa League games, but threw everything at group leaders Legia Warsaw with over 20 attempts on goal and over a dozen corners.

They eventually broke through with a spectacular Lorenzo Insigne volley, then Victor Osimhen and Matteo Politano rounded out the 3-0 scoreline.

Europa League | Napoli 3-0 Legia Warsaw: Insigne and Osimhen inspire

“It was difficult to break them down, but we never lost our organisation, because losing that can create gaps and it becomes very dangerous,” Spalletti told Sky Sport Italia.

“This Legia Warsaw side beat Leicester City, let’s not forget. As time wore on, we didn’t lose our heads, we continued to have patience and waited for luck to turn our way.”

At one stage, when the deadlock wasn’t breaking yet, Spalletti moved to a 3-5-2 formation with Insigne in a more central role.

“When you have so many attacking players, we can seek variations and try new ways to break down the opposition. With Osimhen, Mertens and Insigne on the field, it becomes easier to find that moment of magic.

“We maintained the balance anyway, Elmas worked so hard, and when you have this attitude in your players, it becomes simple for a coach.

“I am very happy, I think it’s difficult to play better than we did tonight. At least the players gave a response to anyone suggesting Napoli don’t care about the Europa League.”

Osimhen’s face at the Insigne goal was one of stunned joy, there is a real unity within the Napoli squad and they seem to be enjoying their football.

“You cannot win as a team if individuals are thinking about themselves. This team failed its objective as a team last season, which was Champions League qualification. This is the only way to progress, to think as a team. If the players understand that, great, if they don’t, then you have to make them understand it.”

Dries Mertens commented that Osimhen is always looking for advice, so how has Spalletti worked to improve the raw talent?

“He is accustomed to galloping in wide open spaces, so coming back to get the ball or support his teammate and then make the run are things he is still learning. He’s a great professional, a lovely guy who is eager to learn and improve.

“His teammates adore him, he wants to be with them all the time and we’re very fortunate to have him.”

Spalletti was asked if Napoli can win the Europa League this season.

“First we need to get through the group phase. Don’t forget these games are sandwiched between Serie A matches, we might be overflowing in some areas and short on others, so rotation is not so simple.

“As we saw tonight, we need to be a collective and keep the ferocious press going for long periods, not just flurries.”

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