Luciano Spalletti heaped praise on his team after the dramatic 2-1 victory over Roma at the Stadio Maradona on Sunday evening to extend Napoli’s lead at the top of Serie A to 13 points.
“This was a team victory,” stated the boss. “Only when you have such a united group can you win these tight matches. Everyone played a key role tonight because those who came off the bench showed that their heads were already in the game before coming on.
“That’s the attitude that we always need if we want to achieve major targets. Players who come on don’t play instead of a team-mate, rather they play alongside their team-mate. I have players who don’t want to take anyone’s place away, but they do want to make their contribution to help the team.
“Roma played with so much intensity and I’d say we were less brave than we usually are in terms of getting the ball moving and that made it easier for them to mark our players and outnumber us in certain parts of the pitch.
“[Victor] Osimhen scored a fantastic goal. He has it all: strength, power, quality and technique. He unleashed a firebolt out there. He’s becoming so difficult to mark even when he is out of possession because he always tries to win every ball back.”
Were you brave to take him off towards the end?
“No, I have a deep squad. I have players who always deserve to play. I can’t always play the same guys because I have a quality squad and it would be a loss for us to leave players like [Jack] Raspadori and [Giovanni] Simeone out in attack.
“I have two forwards who scored key goals in the Champions League group stage that led us to victories and earnt us points. They came on with a type of determination that makes you understand their value. The same thing goes for [Eljif] Elmas and [Matias] Olivera.
“I can only reiterate that this is a team win. The explosion of joy and hugs on the touchlines at the end of the match are proof of the extraordinary togetherness here.”
Everyone is talking about the Scudetto now that Napoli are 13 points clear.
“I’m just talking about this game. We have three more points in the bag and have beaten a great side. Roma showed that they’re one of the best teams we’ve faced at the Stadio Maradona. Now we can look ahead to the next game. Having a lead is just a consequence. We’re not managing anything. We’re just playing in the way that we know and trying to continue down this path.”