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Nigeria and Napoli star Osimhen still doesn’t realise distance from his marker – Spalletti

12:10 GMT+3 14/03/2022
Osimhen Verona Napoli
The Partenopei manager explains the strength of the 23-year-old Super Eagle after he notched a brace in the top-flight victory

Napoli coach Luciano Spalletti has maintained striker Victor Osimhen has a long way off to be the finished article despite his two goals helping the team to a 2-1 Serie A win against Verona on Sunday.

The 23-year-old Nigeria international scored both goals for the Partenopei at the Stadio Bentegodi, his first effort coming via a strong header while the second was a tap-in from six yards before Marco Davide Faraoni pulled one back late on.

Despite being the team’s top scorer in this campaign, Spalletti feels Osimhen has areas where he needs to improve.

“Osimhen still doesn’t realise the distance from his marker, sometimes he runs towards the ball and has the time and space to control, pick his spot. He doesn’t need to rush,” Spalletti told DAZN as quoted by Football Italia.

“He can start a run from midfield; take on four or five defenders by himself with that pace, so he has such potential.”

Verona coach Igor Tudor has stated Osimhen is not the best striker in Serie A and instead picked Dusan Vlahovic of Juventus as the best. Spalletti has refused to choose between the two.

“Dusan [Vlahovic] is a champion and if a club like Juventus signed him, it means they checked carefully he has everything required to play at that level,” Spalletti continued.

“Osimhen is a top player with everything on his side. He’s young, he’s a good lad, he can be a bit too enthusiastic and gives his all. When we are talking about timing, movement, the dummy on a defender to change direction, these are the areas where he needs to improve.”

Meanwhile, Osimhen believes Napoli are still on the right track to lift the Serie A title.

“Like I always say, we have to continue to win. In order to win the Scudetto, we must try to win every game this season. Today was a step towards our objective and I believe we can do it,” Osimhen told DAZN as quoted by Football Italia.

On the win against Verona, Osimhen said: “I think after the defeat to Milan everyone was upset, so we went into difficult ground against an organised team with determination and desire to win, it’s a deserved win.”

Osimhen’s last four goals had come through headers before the tap in against Verona, and speaking on the incident he said: “I’ve been doing some practice in training, Mario Rui and Di Lorenzo helped me with some crosses. I wanted to have more confidence with my head, it’s really important to me and I want to continue like this.”

On why he celebrated his second goal with a camera while clicking towards the fans, the Super Eagle said: “[Kalidou] Koulibaly gave me the camera to take a picture of the fans. They have been amazing from start to finish and they deserved a shot!”