Spalletti warns Napoli cannot rest on first-leg triumph over Eintracht Frankfurt

By Sports Desk February 21, 2023

Luciano Spalletti warned Napoli cannot think they have already reached the Champions League quarter-finals despite a dominant victory over Eintracht Frankfurt.

The Serie A leaders cruised to a 2-0 victory at Deutsche Bank Park as Victor Osimhen and Giovanni Di Lorenzo netted against Eintracht, who had Randal Kolo Muani sent off in the second half.

Napoli have never made it to the Champions League last eight but are in control of their last-16 tie ahead of the return meeting in Naples on March 15.

Spalletti refused to rest on his laurels, though, as he insisted nothing has been achieved just yet.

Asked if Napoli and Real Madrid, who smashed Liverpool 5-2 at Anfield in Tuesday's other clash, were favourites, Spalletti responded: "Will we be able to repeat it?

"We have to, let's see if we stay on track, remain in command. We cannot think we are automatically through."

Khvicha Kvaratskhelia saw Kevin Trapp save his penalty four minutes before Osimhen's first-half opener, with Napoli's poor spot-kick record continuing in the Champions League.

The Partenopei have scored just three of their six penalties taken in this year's competition, with only Monaco and Sevilla (in the 2016-17 term) missing as many in a single campaign, excluding shoot-outs, since Opta data began in the 2003-04 season.

Kvaratskhelia bounced back to tee up Di Lorenzo's calm finish, his 13th assist across all competitions this term – no Serie A player has managed more.

Spalletti referenced the resilience of Napoli being a key factor for their success.

"This thing should be highlighted here, the team didn't give up after the penalty kick, but scored immediately, insisted because we wanted to win," he added. 

"Thinking correctly, behaving like this, and wanting to win the match. We want to win them all, the matches pass so we don't come back again.

"We dreamed of this game here as children, we can't fail it. At 2-0, there was the possibility of scoring the third goal, we did some things well, others a little less, we could have tried more."

Victory marked Napoli's first away win in the Champions League knockout rounds, having lost their previous three, as they chase Serie A and European glory.

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