Spalletti happy to quieten Napoli critics after Fabian sends Partenopei top

By Sports Desk February 27, 2022

Luciano Spalletti was delighted to have quietened Napoli's critics after Fabian Ruiz's 94th-minute strike saw off Lazio at the Stadio Olimpico and propelled the visitors to the Serie A summit.

After Lorenzo Insigne had opened the scoring, Pedro's superb late volley looked to have denied Napoli a crucial victory, only for Fabian to curl in a brilliant last-gasp winner to put Spalletti's men ahead in an enthralling title race.

Napoli's return of 18 points from their eight league matches in 2022 is the best in Serie A, as they bid for a first Scudetto since the Diego Maradona era, while the late goal condemned Lazio to just their second home defeat of the league campaign.

Spalletti, who joined in with his players' wild celebrations after the goal, said after the contest Napoli deserved the victory, but he seemed more concerned with quietening those who have criticised his men.

"I think overall the team deserved the victory," he told DAZN.

"I want to underline that everyone keeps moaning that this team doesn't have character, it's soft, it's sluggish; I want to hear them say that now.

"This team definitely has character. We lost to Barcelona [4-2 in Naples] after getting a result at Camp Nou, it was my fault because I told them to take that approach.

"I see an ugly atmosphere around this team, people trying to say we lack character. I want to see them say that now.

"We got knocked down, we got straight back on our feet again and poured forward to find the winner. I don’t think it's a bad thing to say this was a deserved victory." 

Fabian has now scored the most goals from outside the box in this Serie A this season, with all six of his strikes coming from range. Moreover, the midfielder has now netted as many goals this term as he did in the 2019-20 and the 2020-21 campaigns combined.

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    "Unfortunately, these things happen in football. He had this adductor issue a week ago too, perhaps I should've taken him off when we were 3-0 up, but he was enjoying himself out there. 

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