Spalletti convinced Osimhen strain nothing serious

By Sports Desk February 17, 2023

Napoli head coach Luciano Spalletti allayed concerns about the condition of Victor Osimhen after the in-form striker appeared to limp off during Friday's win over Sassuolo.

The Nigeria star scored Napoli's second goal in the 2-0 victory at Mapei Stadium after Khvicha Kvaratskhelia opened the scoring.

Osimhen's goal saw him become the first Napoli player to score in seven successive Serie A games during the three-points-for-a-win era (1995-96).

He was taken off six minutes from time and seemed to be limping as he headed for the bench, sparking some concern from supporters with a trip to Eintracht Frankfurt in the Champions League on the horizon.

But Spalletti appeared confident his star striker has not suffered any lasting damage and will be fit on Tuesday.

"We have evaluated Osimhen's condition, but it doesn't seem like it's anything out of the ordinary," Spalletti told DAZN after the game.

"He's just a little tired because he can't stop himself. It always seems like he has to do the last two metres, then he just starts running after everyone until he's recovered the ball, so two metres becomes another 200 metres.

"Doctors are investigating, but it doesn't seem like it's anything serious."

After an entertaining first half, the game was much tighter in the second period, seemingly owing to Napoli's ability to see things out in their own manner.

But there was an intensity to their play throughout that undoubtedly contributed to Sassuolo struggling to impose themselves, particularly when they might have been desperately chasing a late lifeline.

Spalletti's post-match interview was conducted by former Napoli and Juventus great Ciro Ferrara, who likened Napoli's urgency to that of Pep Guardiola's classic Barcelona side.

The Napoli coach felt the need to pump the brakes at that comparison.

"You have to go easy on the comparisons," Spalletti said. "Then it becomes a problem. We must stay calm, very calm.

"It's true that we put a lot of determination into winning the ball back. We have the strength to go and steal it from the opponent, and we did it well today.

"But, beyond that, compared to the last few games, today it seemed to me that we were superior to our previous performances, even in small things like dribbling and [game] management.

"We were quick and assertive when moving the ball around. We suffered a couple of times because Sassuolo are a great team, trained very well.

"You can't have supremacy for 90 minutes. However, the team put in a great performance. Even though we're living a great moment, nobody is giving up on the ball. It's a good feeling."

Friday's win moved Napoli 18 points clear at the summit, though Inter can reduce the deficit back to 15 with a victory over Udinese on Saturday.

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