Spalletti confirms Osimhen will start vs. Milan and discusses two key Napoli absences

By Oliver Fisher -

Napoli boss Luciano Spalletti has confirmed that Victor Osimhen will start against AC Milan in the Champions League quarter-final second leg on Tuesday night.

Napoli were left frustrated today as they drew 0-0 with relegation-threatened Hellas Verona at the Maradona this evening, a game in which they had over 80% of the ball but managed just one shot on target.

The game did mark the return of Osimhen who came off the bench and rattled a late shot against the crossbar, which means the Nigerian has pretty much fully recovered from the muscle problem he sustained with the national team.

Spalletti spoke to DAZN after the game and he was asked about what it means in view of Tuesday’s Champions League game, in particular the return of Osimhen, with his comments relayed by Di Marzio.

“Verona kept sitting deep, so we have to make this web of passes to find a way through. We didn’t do enough to create the gaps or make the most of them when they appeared,” Spalletti began.

“Possession must be done with balance, not fast and not slow. When you dig out that space, this is when you have to speed it up, but passes need to be kept simple, without touching the ball four times, without doing it too quickly so that you don’t know where the next move will be.

“The speed is at the end of a move, finalising it, but building out from the back you don’t need to rush things. You must understand where the spaces are.”

On Osimhen: “He’ll start, yes. Osimhen has this physicality and speed, you can throw the ball up to him and he can protect it, use his head or use a change of pace, he has so many different alternatives.

“He is a hero of these fans now, so there is always a wave of enthusiasm around him. These are players made of different stuff, they have so many solutions. They fill the box of delights with all their various characteristics.”

On Kim Min-jae and Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa being suspended: “For that game we need a bit of everything, not just possession, but balance, moving the ball around well and being a team at all times.

“That is a quality you only have when the team is mature, consistent in attitude and keeping on your toes all the time. It’s not just about doing it when you play against Milan or in a Champions League quarter-final, it’s doing it all the time.”

Napoli President Aurelio De Laurentiis met with the Ultras leaders and announced that a peace pact had been reached, meaning they will be back with vocal support and no protests in midweek.

“The fans are fundamental, I’ve said it many times. We had some great away performances in arenas where it was tough to hear the home crowd. This gives more strength to a team like ours, they feel supported and can bring the best out of themselves.

“There is so much love, passion and affection for the players, perhaps too much, and we will always thank them. If we manage to do this thing, we will remain forever on the walls of Naples. We will all become Maradona.”

Tags AC Milan Luciano Spalletti Napoli-Milan Victor Osimhen


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