Luciano Spalletti hailed Victor Osimhen for his performance in Napoli’s 5-1 thrashing of Juventus and says he is “amazed” by what the striker still has to offer.
Osimhen opened the scoring for Napoli in Friday’s top-of-the-table Serie A clash with a close-range finish, ending Juve’s run of 770 minutes without conceding in the league.
The 24-year-old then assisted Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, before doubling his strike tally in the second half in between goals from Amir Rrahmani and Elif Elmas.
He is only the third player to score and assist in the first half against Juve over the past 15 seasons, after Cagliari’s Luca Gagliano and Roma’s Diego Perotti (both in 2020).
But while now boasting 13 goals and three assists in 17 appearances this season, Spalletti believes there is more to come from the Nigeria international.
“I am amazed by the potential Osimhen hasn’t put into practice yet,” Spalletti told DAZN. “He is devastating on long balls, can stand strong physically and has courage too.
“He’s had his face cut two or three times because he never backs down. He almost always takes risks but he’s a player who has potential and room for improvement.”
Napoli have now scored 64 goals in 24 matches this season, making them the fourth-highest scoring team across Europe’s top five leagues in all competitions.
More important than that is the 10-point margin Napoli now have on Juventus and Milan at the Serie A summit, though the latter have a game in hand at Lecce on Saturday.
The Partenopei are heavy favourites to win their first Scudetto since the 1989-90 season, even if Spalletti has suggested otherwise, after sending out another message.
“The only message is to ourselves,” Spalletti said. “Juventus are a colossus and that run of results they were on allowed them to go into this match in second place.
“What we said before kick-off was that we didn’t want to end the game with remorse or being hesitant. Instead, we attacked in an open way and took control of the match.”
Angel Di Maria had levelled up before half-time for Juve, who entered the game on an eight-match winning run in the league without conceding a single goal.
Despite Napoli stretching their lead at the top, Juventus defender Danilo is not giving up hope of catching Spalletti’s side in the second half of the season.
“The Scudetto will be decided in June,” he said. “We will think only match-to-match; only in this way can we get higher in the standings. Then we will see what happens.
“Juve must always aim for the Scudetto. We must understand that from tomorrow our thinking must change. As a club we know we have to leave everything on the pitch.”