Napoli are gearing up for their second league game of the new season as they face Monza at home on Sunday. Coach Luciano Spalletti is happy with how his side is shaping up after welcoming some new faces to the team during the summer transfer window.
“We’re pleased with our new signings and we’re glad that there’s such a positive feeling after the latest additions. These newcomers can help to accelerate our development as a team so that we can be strong like last year.”
Responding to questions in a press conference on Saturday, the Azzurri coach shared his thoughts about the team and looked ahead to their upcoming game.
Can you feel the enthusiasm that has spread around the city this week?
“I hope that this enthusiasm has come especially from our performance against Verona. Tomorrow, we must follow up what we did at the Stadio Marcantonio Bentegodi, but it won’t be easy because Monza are an ambitious club which are on the rise.”
Will you stick with a 4-3-3 formation, or do you have something else in mind given the new players that have arrived?
“We have a well-rounded squad which means we have more tactical options available to us. We have brought in players who give us something new to work with.
“The club has done a fantastic job investing in our future and offering us great prospects, while at the same time making sure that they balance the books. We made sure to fill in any of the gaps, because to play in all competitions we needed to expand the team.
“We’re fighting to be competitive. We’re fighting to show what we’re made of, even with some less experienced players who haven’t had as much game time on the national and international stage. We know we have work to do but we’re ready to translate our potential into results on the pitch. The enthusiasm that there is around this side will help us to get right to it.”
What are your thoughts on Tanguy Ndombele from a tactical point of view?
“Ndombele can play in any midfield position. I was struck by his enthusiasm when he arrived at Napoli. He has an incredible desire to win and shows great willingness. As soon as I saw him in training, I could envisage him wearing the Azzurri shirt. He’s a powerful player but also has quality. He has great technical ability, especially in pushing the team forward.”
Do you think the latest transfers change things up in terms of who are the favourites in the league?
“I don’t know which team has strengthened their squad the most compared to last year. It seems to me that lots of clubs have changed things up a bit, not only in terms of the players. We have to find our rhythm as a side right away so that we can get on with what we want to achieve, because I think that all the clubs – Inter, Juventus, Milan, Roma, Lazio – have got stronger.
“I’m still in the process of determining which areas we need to develop because we need to spend some more time together. Of course, there’s a system which we can rely on a lot and then we’ll see how we come together as one when we integrate the newcomers. It’s an intense season and we’ll need everyone.”
Tomorrow, there’ll be 40,000 people at the Stadio Maradona. The fans will be bringing their enthusiasm.
“Yes, we are really happy about that, but tomorrow we face a team whose owners have made footballing history and assembled a quality team. We must only think about tomorrow because we’re coming up against a really motivated side who show great enthusiasm.
"Monza have a modern coach who encourages the team to often press high but who knows how to defend too. We must be well balanced, command the game and show grit when needed. Monza play good football and we’ll need to focus to come away with the result we want.
“Tomorrow, I’ll hug and thank Andrea Petagna because he’s an incredible guy who has given a great deal to us on a personal level too.”
Will we see Victor Osimhen and Giovanni Simeone play together upfront?
“It doesn’t matter whether they play together or not; what matters is that Napoli win. It was great to see how much Simeone wanted to join Napoli because as soon as he knew the club were interested, that was his focus. This is the level of engagement that is really important for us. They are both target men and whether it’s Osimhen or Simeone, they will make a great contribution to the team.”