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Nigeria’s Osimhen has quality but Napoli must improve service to him – Spalletti

2:50 PM IST 07/02/22
Victor Osimhen of Napoli and Nigeria.
The 62-year-old Italian coach suggests the best way to utilise the services of the Super Eagle after he scored his sixth goal this season in Serie A

Napoli coach Luciano Spalletti has challenged his players to improve the service they offer Victor Osimhen after he scored in the team’s 2-0 win against Venezia in a Serie A fixture on Sunday.

The 23-year-old Nigeria international started in the game at Pier Luigi Penzo Stadium and scored the opener in the 59th minute after thumping home a header before Andrea Petagna sealed the points with a beautifully taken goal in stoppage time.

Osimhen, who was making his 14th start in the current Italian top-flight campaign, jumped the highest to connect with a cross from Matteo Politano, and scored his first goal for the Parthenopeans since October 17, 2021, when he found the back of the net in the 1-0 win against Torino.

Spalletti believes Napoli can continue to improve with Osimhen and also underlined the importance of recovering injured players ahead of Napoli’s match against Inter.

“He [Osimhen] has the quality, it’s us who have to improve in serving him, not dribbling all the time and not putting the defenders in a position to defend against his qualities,” Spalletti told the media as quoted by Football Italia.

“In the first half, we played too much man to man and not enough in space, forcing him to have the entire opposing team around him.”

On the 2-0 win, Spalletti said: “This win gives us that superior awareness; we have the possibility to play good games, to always play to win. Today [Sunday] we brought home an important win on a difficult pitch.”

Ahead of the team’s next fixture against Inter at Diego Armando Maradona Stadium on Saturday, Spalletti dwelled on some of his returning players.

Among them is defender Kalidou Koulibaly, who won the Africa Cup of Nations title with Senegal on Sunday after defeating Egypt in the final, and Cameroon’s Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa.

“We still have players to recover. The possibility of making 3-4 quality changes is important, with five substitutions you can change the game in the second half,” Spalletti continued.

“It will be important to recover Koulibaly and Anguissa, to let Ounas do some more training, then we will see about Lozano.”

Osimhen has now managed six goals from 14 appearances in Serie A this campaign.

The win pushed Napoli to second position on the 20-team table with 52 points from 24 matches, one point fewer than Inter, who are leading the log.