Spalletti: ‘Osimhen will become extraordinary’

Napoli coach Luciano Spalletti explains where Victor Osimhen can still improve after his wonder-strike to defeat Roma. ‘Once he gets his emotions sorted out, he will become extraordinary.’

The Partenopei seem unstoppable at the moment, notching up an 11th consecutive victory in all competitions, something the club only achieved once under Ottavio Bianchi from April to September 1986, but this is the first time they’ve done it in a single campaign.

Victor Osimhen scored the breakthrough with a stunning strike from an improbable angle, but it was the culmination of a game that saw Napoli have five shots on target to zero and 61 per cent possession.

Despite that, Mourinho said in his post-match comments that Roma felt “a sense of injustice” and Napoli “did not deserve” all three points.

“I don’t want to talk about Mourinho’s words or the impressions of anyone else, I just want to make my own analysis of the game,” Spalletti told DAZN.

“It was a match full of traps, but my team interpreted it so well, despite making a few mistakes to build out from the back, then trying to dig out situations without running the risk of losing our shape. My team did that well, creating the two or three scoring opportunities that gave us this victory, never allowing Roma to do what they are good at, which is to defend and counter-attack.

“It might seem from afar like they are just hammering the ball forward and hoping it reaches the strikers, but there is a specific tactic to the way they do it. We were able to win even in a slightly different way to the style we are accustomed to, which brings even more credit to my team.”

Everyone was expecting Giacomo Raspadori to come off the bench, but instead Osimhen remained to the end and indeed scored the winner at the 80th minute.

“Osimhen has these sudden changes of pace that only he can do. When he gets his emotions sorted out, he will become extraordinary.”

What can the Nigeria international be missing that could make him even stronger?

“At times he tries to do everything himself, attacks the ball and the goal without realising where his teammates are. But he is physical, he is strong and we need him to complete the squad, also in the air.

“He is one of the best headers of the ball I have ever seen. We didn’t give him as much service last season, but he was also decisive when defending on set plays and resolving a lot of issues for us there.”

Napoli are a very prolific side, but also showed their solidity in defence this evening and kept Roma extremely quiet with another excellent Kim Min-jae performance.

“When there’s a sense of danger, Kim is so alert, so quick to step up and take control of the situation. He keeps an eye on everything and everyone, so it’s more than just his physicality.”

In pre-season, the fans protested that the Napoli squad had been weakened by the loss of such big players, but instead they seem stronger than ever.

“We still have roles where we don’t have understudies. All the squads are like that really, if you look at Milan, Inter, Napoli, Roma, I will show you they all have 23-24 players who can be relied upon. We needed someone more physical in the middle of the park against Pellegrini, Cristante, Camara, Matic, they are more solid and have very different characteristics to us in those roles.

“However, I have a squad that plays good football, that wants to play the ball to feet and tonight perhaps with credit to Roma, we lost balls that usually we don’t lose. There were traps everywhere, so to avoid them, we had to take some detours.”

Spalletti was asked what dreams and ambitions he has in his pockets.

“I have my phone in one pocket, a pen and paper…”