Spalletti sees similarity between Osimhen and Maradona and makes Messi claim

Napoli coach Luciano Spalletti believes Barcelona are ‘as strong as they were with Leo Messi’ and sees one similarity between Victor Osimhen and Diego Armando Maradona.

Napoli host the Blaugrana at the Stadio Maradona tomorrow night in the second leg of the Europa League knock-out round play-offs. The first leg at the Nou Camp last week ended in a 1-1 draw.

“We must fight,” said Spalletti at a press conference.

“Those who fight can lose, but who doesn’t even fight has lost already. We need to take risks, command and show what we want to do, otherwise they’ll force us to defend deep.

“It will be a tough game, we’ll have to be like soldiers in a videogame. A battle to conquer a position. Earn space, or you’ll be shot and die.”

Napoli were lucky to collect a 1-1 draw against Cagliari on Monday, picking one point from the Sardegna Arena thanks to a late goal from Victor Osimhen. They are now on even points with Inter in second place, two points off table leader Milan.

“We should not be affected by sporadic events, but focus on our strengths which brought us to this position in the table,” said Spalletti.

“Surely, we are looking for a different game than the one in Cagliari. We are not a team for physical clashes, we must keep the ball on the ground.

“Barcelona are really strong. They had Leo Messi, but they have the same quality now, with great players everywhere on the pitch. Our target is to have a team that will remain in the fans’ minds.

“We need balance, perhaps I can rotate a bit up front but not in midfield,” he continued.

Three reasons why Osimhen is Napoli’s main threat to Barcelona

“We need to pay attention to players who have returned to action after three or four games on the sidelines.”

Lorenzo Insigne is among those available, but the Italy winger missed two of Napoli’s last five Serie A games due to muscular issues.

“He trained, like Politano and Osimhen who hasn’t suffered any further problem to his knee,” said Spalletti.

“Di Lorenzo is fit, Malcuit is out for two or three weeks. We are assessing Hirving Lozano day by day. He needs to feel the shoulder solid. He’ll need to undergo further exams.

“Insigne will start the game. He has the personality and the technique to determine the result.

“There are no favourites,” continued Spalletti.

Di Lorenzo: ‘Napoli want to beat Barcelona before penalty shoot-out’

“Both teams will try not to go to extra time.”

Who would Maradona support?

“I’ve read many things about him. He liked to take a position and I am convinced that tomorrow he’d stand by our side. We can become a team worthy or Maradona. He liked spectacular football and I am sure he’d like to see it tomorrow.”

How about Victor Osimhen? What role can he play in tomorrow’s game?

“With that header against Cagliari, he proved to have a sort of animal fury which is much-needed in key moments,” the coach said.

“Maradona had the same thing and somebody else should have it in our team. You can see Osimhen has it when he faces his opponents. He has outstanding characteristics and some extra qualities that are not easy to find in other players.”

2 Comments on “Spalletti sees similarity between Osimhen and Maradona and makes Messi claim”

  1. To add to the above.. This is the first time they’ve been in the Europa league for like a decade but they’re still as strong as they were with Messi..

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