Luciano Spalletti was visibly downhearted after a 3-2 home defeat to Fiorentina dealt a hammer blow to their Scudetto hopes. ‘Of course this changes things, it’s no longer in our hands.’
The Partenopei have once again come so close to their Scudetto dream only to crumble, in a painful reflection of the defeat against Fiorentina in 2018 that ruined Maurizio Sarri’s title hopes.
This time it was on home turf that the Viola emerged 3-2 winners with goals from Nico Gonzalez, Jonathan Ikone and Arthur Cabral.
Dries Mertens and Victor Osimhen had tried to get them back into it, but to no avail.
“This is a very costly defeat and in certain ways was undeserved. Fiorentina played their game and earned the win, but we started strong, then tried to play too long and allowed them to take control of midfield,” Spalletti told DAZN.
“When we conceded the second goal, it all became far more difficult. We have to take some of the blame for what happened, but it’s so disappointing because the fans, the attitude of the whole team throughout the week was the right one.”
The Viola had a very high defensive line, but Osimhen rarely made the most of those situations.
“Fiorentina play man against man, Milenkovic pushes far up to chase his man and leaves these spaces we could’ve made more of. If you don’t have the quality to dribble your way out of trouble, then you end up with long balls.
“Osimhen wasn’t in the best shape today, as he skipped a couple of training sessions. He did well, but could’ve done better in these physical duels with Igor.”
The coach was asked if this defeat had changed the landscape of the Scudetto race.
“Of course things change, because clearly now it’s all more difficult. We have no choice other than to be professional, try to win the next game and see what happens. It is no longer in our hands.”
Napoli have lost six Serie A matches this season, five of them were at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona.
“They are all to be taken individually, I don’t see any recurring problem we can work on or blame.”
That’s a special one ✨
Jonathan Ikone launches it and there is nothing the keeper can do.
Superb team play from Fiorentina 🤝 pic.twitter.com/qrwgvAcytT
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 10, 2022