Scudetto or Champions League? Napoli want both – Spalletti

By Sports Desk February 05, 2023

Napoli coach Luciano Spalletti is plotting an offensive on two fronts in the final months of the season as he hopes to win Serie A and the Champions League.

Spalletti's side were comfortable 3-0 winners away to Spezia on Sunday, briefly increasing their lead at the summit to 16 points.

Inter had the chance to trim Napoli's lead to 13 points later in the day, as they chased victory in the Milan derby, but even that gap would appear to be unassailable given the form of the front-runners this season.

If Napoli do manage to win the domestic title, it will end a barren run that stretches back to 1990 and be their first without the inspirational influence of Diego Maradona, who was also behind their success three years earlier.

Winning Serie A would be momentous, but Napoli are also into the last 16 of the Champions League and face Eintracht Frankfurt next – the Naples side have never won Europe's premier competition, nor its predecessor, the European Cup.

Spalletti wants to put that right.

"There are moments in life when results are achieved and in those moments you either settle or try to double down," he told Sky Sport Italia.

"We have no doubts, we've decided to double down.

"We go and play the matches trying to do something for the love of the fans, for the people who were perhaps even today at home praying for us because they love us. We must be proud of that."

Napoli's key men – Khvicha Kvaratskhelia and Victor Osimhen – got the goals, with the latter netting twice.

Kvaratskhelia – who also teed up Osimhen's second – became only the fifth player across the top five European leagues to reach double figures for goals (10) and assists (12) this season.

Meanwhile, Osimhen's brace made him just the fourth Napoli player ever to score 16 times in the first 21 matches of a Serie A campaign.

But both were the targets of verbal barrages from Spalletti in the first half – that seemed to do the trick.

"It was because we need their quality, their inspiration, their imagination," Spalletti said. "When the matches flatten out, they are the ones who can make the difference and open the way.

"You have to find the first striker, play it out wide to open up the channels. Just moving it around isn't enough.

"The pitch was very difficult, dry underneath, it wasn't easy to find the rhythm we're used to, so sometimes you have to play direct to Osimhen, making the most of the fact he's really strong from a physical point of view."

Napoli are next in action in a week's time, on Sunday, February 12, when they host winless Cremonese.

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