Spalletti admires Osimhen’s untapped potential

Luciano Spalletti hailed Victor Osimhen for his performance in Napoli’s 5-1 win over Juventus and said he was “surprised” by what the striker still had to offer.

Osimhen opened the score for Napoli by finishing close range in Friday’s Serie A match, and finished Juve’s 770-minute streak without conceding a league goal.

The 24-year-old assisted Khvicha Kvaratskelia before doubling his batting tally between goals from Amir Rrahmani and Elif Elmas in the second half.

He is the third player to score and assist in the first half against Juve in the last 15 seasons, after Cagliari’s Luca Gagliano and Roma’s Diego Perotti (both in 2020).

But Spalletti has boasted 13 goals and 3 assists in 17 games this season, and he believes more to come than the Nigerian international.

“I am amazed at the potential Osimhen has yet to implement,” Spalletti told DAZN. “He’s devastating on long balls, he’s physically strong and he’s brave.

“He’s been cut in the face two or three times for never backing down. He’s almost always taking risks, but he’s a player with potential and room for improvement.”

Juventus conceded five goals in a league game for the first time in three decades.

Juventus conceded five goals in a league game for the first time in three decades.

Napoli scored 64 goals in 24 games this season, making them the fourth team to score the most goals in all competitions in Europe’s top five leagues.

More important than that is the 10-point lead that Napoli currently have against Juventus and Milan at the top of Serie A, but Milan has a game in Lecce on Saturday.

The Partenopei are heavyweight favorites to win their first Scudetto since the 1989-90 season, even though Spalletti suggested otherwise after sending another message.

“The only message is to ourselves,” Spalletti said. “Juventus are a giant and their results have put them in second place in this game.

“What we said before kick-off was that we didn’t want to end the game with regret or hesitation. Instead, we clearly attacked and took control of the game.”

Angel Di Maria leveled up before the half for Juve, who entered the game with an eight-game winning streak in the league and did not concede a single goal.

Despite expanding Napoli’s lead at the top, Juventus defender Danilo does not lose hope of catching Spalletti’s side in the second half of the season.

Scudetto will be decided in June,” he said. “We will only think about match by match, but this way we can move up the rankings. We’ll see what happens then.

“Juve should always aim for Scudetto. From tomorrow we have to understand that our thinking has to change. We know that as a club we have to leave everything on the pitch.”

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