Luciano Spalletti confirmed Victor Osimhen will start Tuesday’s Champions League clash with Milan after the fit-again Napoli star was denied by the woodwork on his return against Hellas Verona.
Osimhen was sidelined for around three weeks after sustaining a groin injury while on international duty with Nigeria last month, returning to Napoli’s bench for Saturday’s frustrating goalless draw.
Striker Osimhen was introduced for the final 20 minutes and went closest to breaking the deadlock, crashing a fierce volley against the crossbar as the Serie A leaders were held.
Despite failing to add to his league-high tally of 21 goals this season, no Napoli player bettered his five touches in the Verona area throughout the course of the game.
Spalletti hopes Osimhen’s outing will help him enter the Milan game – with Napoli 1-0 down in the tie – in top form, saying the mere sight of the striker lifted the crowd at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona.
“He’ll be a starter against Milan,” Spalletti said of Osimhen.
“He has this structure where you can throw the ball into him, or in the space, and he holds it.
“He has many qualities. [Giacomo] Raspadori has almost all of them, but when we throw a long ball over his head, it becomes difficult for him.
AND HITS THE CROSSBAR https://t.co/DGIkORtBWQ
— Lega Serie A (@SerieA_EN) April 15, 2023
“Osimhen is now a favourite of the fans, so when he enters he always gives a breath of enthusiasm to the whole team.
“Players like him are made of different stuff, they have too many solutions to be normal, they have so many characteristics.”
Asked why Napoli failed to make the breakthrough, Spalletti said: “We found a team that closed in and took the space away from us. We need to know how to fill the empty spaces.
“Many difficulties came from Verona, a team used to wasting time, as they were also allowed to do tonight. I don’t see the time we lost added anywhere.”
While Napoli have won just one of their last four games across all competitions (D1 L2), they remain 14 points clear of second-placed Lazio and on course to win their first Scudetto since 1990.
- Soccer News Like
- Be the first of your friends!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Soccernews.com is news blog for soccer with comprehensive coverage of all the major leagues in Europe, as well as MLS in the United States. In addition we offer breaking news for transfers and transfer rumors, ticket sales, betting tips and offers, match previews, and in-depth editorials.
You can follow us on Facebook: Facebook.com/soccernews.com or Twitter: @soccernewsfeed.