Luciano Spalletti credits Victor Osimhen with improving his attitude and explains the approach he wants from every Napoli player. ‘They must be ready to destroy themselves on the pitch to get a result.’

The Partenopei continue to march on the Scudetto, temporarily going 16 points clear at the top ahead of Inter’s meeting with Sampdoria on Monday evening.

They are now on 59 points after 22 rounds, so in the three points for a win era, only Inter in 2006-07 and Juventus in 2018-19 have managed 60 at this stage of the season.

Kvicha Kvaratskhelia broke the deadlock for the 3-0 win over Cremonese, followed by Victor Osimhen’s tap-in and an Eljif Elmas angled drive, the 12th goal off the bench this season.

“Our city and these fans are keeping us on our toes, because everyone feels the desire to win,” Spalletti told DAZN.

“Perhaps we felt it a bit too much in the first half, as there was some tension, we didn’t pass the ball the way we usually do and Cremonese used their tactics with these very wide wing-backs to make us use up energy chasing them down and defending.

“It was much better after the break, passing with more quality, calm and organisation, because that is what we need to do with our characteristics.”

Cremonese had knocked Napoli out of the Coppa Italia last month with a 2-2 draw, decided on penalties, so it was not a fixture to be underestimated.

“There is total commitment, we have good lads as well as great professionals, they are all ready to tire themselves out to help the team. They must be ready to destroy themselves on the pitch to get a result, because a result makes the difference.”

Osimhen arrived at Napoli as a rough diamond, but the fruits of his work with Spalletti in training are showing with improvements in every area, including his previous tendency to react to fouls or argue with the referee.

“There was an incident today where the lads could’ve had a different reaction, but instead they stayed calm and carried on. We have to realise that we get what the referee gives us and the rest is not for us to think about,” explained the coach.

“We just have to keep going and when we’re 2-0 up, we seek the third goal, because that will let us be more relaxed and safe.”

It has often been said that Serie A teams train hard on fitness, but less so in terms of intensity with the ball, so this is something Spalletti has been working on.

“There is a game on Friday, so we will train tomorrow morning, so if those who didn’t play do not put in the same effort as those who did, then that will damage everyone. If they train at a high level, going into tackles – within the limits of common sense – in games between ranks, then we won’t run into nasty surprises. That is the key to everything.”

There are even articles now suggesting Napoli can be among the favourites to win the Champions League and do the Double, as they prepare to face Eintracht Frankfurt in the Round of 16.

“I know your game… We have to take it one game at a time. Some are trying to make us think we’ve already won, that we will get who knows what, but we need to stay focused and keep the attention on every detail. As I said before, you live on the present, not the future.”

There was a sweet moment in the final stages when Stanislav Lobotka was substituted and Spalletti hugged the midfielder so hard that he literally lifted him off the ground. “There are these new WhatsApp groups nowadays and I saw on the stroke of midnight, all the players were there to wish Kvara a happy birthday, they didn’t bother waiting until the next day. That shows what the rapport is like.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Tickets Kit Collector