The Nigerian forward fed from scraps but typical to his quality, he got the winner out of nothing – a beauty to behold in every sense of the word and underlining of his immense ability
For one hour and twenty minutes, Napoli stayed on the precipice of a halt of their strong, bullish run. A run of ten consecutive victories place the Partenopei as Europe’s most in-form team.
They had scored 32 goals in those games, a rich average of more than 3 goals per game but on Sunday, Spalletti hit a button quite unexpected.
By choosing returning Victor Osimhen over Giacomo Raspadori, Napoli manager, Luciano Spalletti courted the ire of fans who’d have pounced if things went wrong but the Nigerian proved why he’s their most prized asset.
Fed with a route-one ball from Mateo Politano, Osimhen wrestled off the holding Chris Smalling before delivering a stunner from the most impossible of angles. He had no business scoring from such spots. It was less than a half opportunity and it gained the respect of long-term admirer and the man on the opposite bench, Jose Mourinho.
“We have to be more decisive upfront, what lodges into the statistics are the shots on goal. Then I also look at the half opportunities, those that you have to transform into opportunities as Osimhen did,” the Roma coach told DAZN after the game.
Spalletti has never hidden his admiration of his biggest forward. On his day, he gives him the solution and he admitted that the forward did not get enough service last season.
Sort your emotions and become extraordinary – Spalleti to Osimhen
“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.”
How Osimhen can become even better – Spalletti
“Osimhen has these sudden changes of pace that only he can do. When he gets his emotions sorted out, he will become extraordinary.
“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.”