Luciano Spalletti hit out at the media coverage surrounding Napoli after his side cruised to a 6-1 thrashing of Sassuolo on Saturday.

Napoli saw their Scudetto hopes crushed as a second-half collapse allowed Empoli victory last week, but Spalletti's side raced out the blocks against Sassuolo as Kalidou Koulibaly, Victor Osimhen and Hirving Lozano struck.

The rapid start saw Napoli net three times within the first 20 minutes of a Serie A match for the first time since May 2009 before Dries Mertens added a double either side of the interval.

Amir Rrahmani then turned home with the hosts claiming a 6-1 win after Maxime Lopez's late consolation goal.

But Spalletti was in no mood for celebrating after Napoli all but secured Champions League qualification, sitting 12 points clear of fifth-placed Roma, who have four games to play.

The Napoli coach questioned the reporting by the media after speculation persisted over his future following the disappointing defeat to Empoli.

"Being almost mathematically certain of Champions League football with three rounds to spare was not an easy target. Having said that, there are some regrets," he told reporters.

"I was the one who talked about the Scudetto to raise the bar, but winning a game in today's atmosphere, with part of the crowd protesting, is something that disappoints me considering all the players have done this season.

"It almost feels like it's a success to be where Roma, Atalanta or Lazio are, but Napoli are treated as a failure.

"Who has doubts about me? A journalist who has no ideas and decides to fill up space by going back to find problems from years ago, back to Francesco Totti, Mauro Icardi and who knows what else.

"I see bad faith in some reporting around me and Napoli. You are trying to obscure the great result of Champions League qualification by making it all about the Scudetto.

"It's true we dropped points against Empoli, but just as true that we have achieved things with Napoli this season. The team did not deserve to play in this atmosphere."

Spalletti is aiming to continue building at Napoli even if he is to lose some of his star players after impressing this season.

"This season told us a lot, now we have more material available and we have created a showcase for many players," he added.

"At the beginning of the season the president talked about having to lower the salary, there were not many proposals, now many are interested in the transfer market and I'm happy with this.

"These players here deserve showcases and deserve to be in the sights of other important clubs such as Napoli."

Luciano Spalletti insisted he must swallow the blame for Napoli's collapse against Empoli that all but ended their Scudetto hopes.

The evergreen Dries Mertens and Lorenzo Insigne fired Spalletti's visitors into a 2-0 lead at Stadio Carlo Castellani before Napoli succumbed to a spectacular comeback.

Liam Henderson pulled one back in the 80th minute before a double from Inter loanee Andrea Pinamonti capped a remarkable turnaround to leave Napoli, who have played a game more, five points behind Serie A leaders Inter.

That made Empoli just the third team in Serie A history to win after trailing by two goals after 79 minutes, after Inter versus Sampdoria in January 2005, and Sampdoria against Sassuolo in November 2016.

It also marked the first time Napoli have lost an Italian top-flight match after leading by two goals since March 1942, a 5-3 reverse against Torino.

Spalletti's side entered the game sitting four points behind second-placed Milan, who were due in action at Lazio later on Sunday, and the head coach believes he should take much of the criticism for Napoli's frail mentality.

He told DAZN after the game: "I can only take note of what happens. Clearly, imagining an end to the game like that was difficult, but when you don't have the right intensity and concentration...

"We made a few too many mistakes, lost the ball too cheaply. Inevitably, the coach has to shoulder much of the blame for the attitude and consistency. The responsibility lies with the coach."

Goalkeeper Alex Meret was largely at fault for Pinamonti's leveller, his lapse in concentration allowing the striker to pounce and equalise, and Spalletti appreciates the error allowed Empoli a way back into the game.

"It depends on what you build day by day, the attitude that is consolidated, being focused, attentive. Something evidently went wrong," the coach added.

"When we talk about an error like that, some fear sets in and the opponents can take advantage. Even if Empoli hadn't won for a while, they played good football. These things can happen in football and it happened.

"It's important for us to keep possession because our characteristics are not suited to a physical contest. Even then, it didn't seem to be a battle to that level to become unsustainable for these players."

Individual mistakes aside, Spalletti reiterated he must take much of the blame for the second-half performance as he brought his own future into question.

"I am responsible for this team, for their attitude, their approach, so I take the consequences for what happens on the field," Spalletti said.

"Much of it has to be my fault. We've been working together for almost a year, there ought to be a mentality and reaction coming from my work with these players.

"We were challenging for the Scudetto, as everyone said, we had the qualities to challenge for the Scudetto, but if the level is this, I cannot avoid being called into question."

Jose Mourinho said he was "ashamed" by the officiating of Roma's 1-1 Serie A draw at Napoli, believing the hosts should have conceded a penalty and had a man sent off.

Mourinho also appeared to suggest teams fighting for the Serie A title were being favoured by officials in a post-match outburst, after Stephan El Shaarawy's last-minute goal sealed a valuable point for the Giallorossi.

Roma trailed for 80 minutes in Naples after Lorenzo Insigne netted his eighth penalty of the season, the highest tally among players in Europe's top five leagues this season.

But El Shaarawy's 91st-minute strike kept Roma within five points of fourth-placed Juventus, and represented the winger's third last-minute goal of the Serie A season, more than any other player.

Mourinho, however, vented his frustration at the officials.

"There are teams that play to win the Scudetto, we don't," Mourinho told DAZN. "But we still have the right to play to win games, regardless of the opponent we face, whether it's a team fighting for the Scudetto or one already relegated. 

"Today it seemed that we did not have the right to play to win. [VAR] Mr Di Paolo, not to mention [referee] Mr Di Bello made me feel ashamed at least twice, the red to [Napoli defender Alessandro] Zanoli which was not given, and for the penalty not given to [Roma attacker Nicolo] Zaniolo. 

"Luckily they [the officials] found nothing in our goal to nullify it. But enough, I ask for a little respect. 

"Unfortunately, we weren't good at the beginning [of the season] and now we cannot fight to win the Scudetto, but I want to have the right to play to win games."

Mourinho celebrated wildly when El Shaarawy equalised, and expressed his pride at Roma extending their unbeaten run to 12 Serie A matches.

"I rejoiced at El Shaarawy's goal because during the match it seemed impossible to get out of here with a positive result," Mourinho said.

"We played very well, and we grew during the game. My team was fantastic, these guys fill me with pride. After Thursday's game [against Bodo/Glimt in the Europa Conference League] the field today looked like Everest to us. But great quality, character, incredible physical and mental condition. We wanted more, but we did what we could."

For Napoli, the last-gasp leveller represented a severe blow to their hopes of a first Scudetto since the Diego Maradona era, and head coach Luciano Spalletti conceded that a return of one point from their last two matches was not up to scratch.

Spalletti, though, drew attention to Mourinho's behaviour on the touchline. 

"From the first minute I tell my bench to behave well," Spelletti said. "Even today, we have all been seated on the bench. 

"Other teams seem to play at home, they jump on everyone, I'm not just talking about Roma, I'm talking in general. We sit down and let the referees do the work they have to do."

Napoli and Roma have drawn both their matches in a single Serie A campaign for the first time since the 1994-95 season, having played out a goalless draw last October.

Napoli coach Luciano Spalletti conceded the race for the Scudetto was no longer in his side's hands after they fell to a 3-2 loss to Fiorentina.

Dries Mertens cancelled out Nico Gonzalez's first-half opener at the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium, before Jonathan Ikone and Arthur Cabral put the visitors two goals to the good.

Victor Osimhen pulled one back in the closing stages for Spalletti's side, but his efforts were ultimately in vain as Napoli succumbed to their sixth league loss this season, five of which came at home.

The defeat leaves them level on points with defending champions Inter, who have played a game fewer, and two behind Serie A leaders Milan ahead of the Rossoneri facing Torino on Sunday evening.

With that deficit in mind, a visibly disappointed Spalletti acknowledged to DAZN that the race for the Serie A title was now out of Napoli's control, and they would need favours from others to win a first Scudetto since 1990.

"Yes [it changes the title race], now everything is getting harder," he said. 

"We have no choice but to be professional. Now, we think about winning the next game, even if now it depends on others and not on us."

The Italian also believes the "costly" loss to Fiorentina was undeserved.

"This is a very costly defeat and in some ways undeserved," he added. "Fiorentina played their game and earned the win, but we started strong, then tried to play too long and allowed them to take control of midfield.

"When we conceded the second goal, it all became far more difficult. We have to take some blame for what happened, but it's so disappointing because the fans, the attitude of the whole team throughout the week was the right one."

As for Napoli's disappointing home record, Spalletti claims he does not see a pattern within their home reverses, which he said should be evaluated separately.

"The matches must be evaluated game-by-game," he added.

"I don't see anything similar to the other games, I don't see a sure problem."

Napoli will look to make amends when they host Roma in Serie A on Monday, after Fiorentina became the first side to beat them twice on their own turf in one season since Lazio in 2014-15 (Fiorentina also eliminated Napoli from the Coppa Italia in Naples).

Napoli head coach Luciano Spalletti has said his team understands they are "playing for the happiness of a city" after an impressive 3-1 victory away to Atalanta put them level on points with Serie A leaders Milan.

A penalty from Lorenzo Insigne and a Matteo Politano free-kick saw the Naples side 2-0 up at half-time, only for Marten de Roon to halve the deficit just before the hour mark at Gewiss Stadium.

However, a well-taken goal on the counter-attack from Elif Elmas late on after neat work from Hirving Lozano was enough to secure the three points and give Napoli their third league win in a row.

The victory means Spalletti's men are on 66 points, the same as leaders Milan though having played a game more, with the Rossoneri hosting Bologna on Monday.

"We have come out of difficult situations this season, but at this point here, there is no turning back," Spalletti told DAZN after the win.

"We suffered again today, at the beginning of both halves, [but] the team began to turn and even when Atalanta responded, the team did not disunite, on the contrary, we went in search of the third goal, which shows how we have grown."

 

Napoli, who were missing star striker Victor Osimhen, have now scored eight penalties in a single Serie A campaign for the first time since they returned to the top-flight (from 2007/08).

It is their away record that has kept them in the race for the Scudetto, having now won 11 and lost just one of their 16 games on the road (D4).

However, Spalletti also acknowledged their home form, which has been less impressive, winning nine and losing four of their 15 games at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona (D2).

"There is still a long way to go, because we have lost too many points at home and we cannot let our guard down," he added.

"What these guys have understood is that they are playing for the happiness of a city."

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.

Napoli head coach Luciano Spalletti believes Barcelona still "have the same quality" without Lionel Messi, and has also drawn comparisons between Victor Osimhen and Diego Maradona.

Spalletti's side host Barca on Thursday in the second leg of their Europa League knockout round play-off, with the tie finely poised following a 1-1 draw in the first leg, which was the Blaugrana's first appearance in Europe's secondary competition since the 2003-04 season.

In those 18 years in between, Barca have lifted the Champions League four times, with Messi playing a starring role as he amassed 672 goals across 778 appearances in all competitions.

The Argentina international departed on a free transfer at the end of last season for Paris Saint-Germain amid well-documented financial complications at Camp Nou, but Spalletti does not think Xavi's new-look side are any worse off without the forward.

He told reporters at Wednesday's pre-match news conference: "Barcelona are really strong. They had Leo Messi, but they have the same quality now, with great players everywhere on the pitch. 

"Our target is to have a team that will remain in the fans' minds. We must fight. 

"Those who fight can lose, but who doesn't even fight has lost already. We need to take risks, command and show what we want to do, otherwise they'll force us to defend deep.

"It will be a tough game, we'll have to be like soldiers in a video game. A battle to conquer a position. Earn space, or you'll be shot and die."

Spalletti suggested before the first leg that Napoli and Barcelona legend Maradona would be looking down hoping his former Italian side can secure victory.

The Italian head coach referenced the Argentine great again, this time suggesting he could see similarities between his star forward Osimhen and Maradona.

"With that header against Cagliari, he proved to have a sort of animal fury which is much-needed in key moments," he added on Osimhen, who scored a late equaliser in his last outing.

"Maradona had the same thing and somebody else should have it in our team. 

"You can see Osimhen has it when he faces his opponents. He has outstanding characteristics and some extra qualities that are not easy to find in other players.

"We can become a team worthy or Maradona. He liked spectacular football and I am sure he'd like to see it tomorrow."

Luciano Spalletti believes Diego Maradona will be looking down on his two former teams and hoping Napoli beat Barcelona on Thursday.

In the pick of the Europa League knockout round play-off ties, the Partenopei face Barca home and away over the next week.

The Blaugrana dropped into UEFA's secondary competition for the first time since 2003-04 following their elimination from the Champions League in a tough start to the season.

The Catalan side have recovered a little momentum under Xavi, however, and present a major test for Spalletti's Napoli, who are third in Serie A.

But this fixture – only previously played in the last 16 of the 2019-20 Champions League – will always be associated far more with Maradona than any modern star.

The Argentina great moved to Napoli after two years with Barca in the 1980s, enjoying the best spell of his career over seven seasons in Italy.

Twice a league champion with Napoli, Spalletti suggested on the eve of the match the late Maradona would favour his club.

Asked about injury issues in both camps, the Napoli coach said: "I don't think there will be a disadvantage for the absence of a player.

"The two squads are so well equipped that the absence of one player and the presence of another does not make a difference.

"There would be one that could make a difference, but he will watch this game from heaven.

"I am talking about Maradona, who will initially try to be 'good', but then I am convinced he will take a position and cheer for Napoli."

Napoli head coach Luciano Spalletti will not be present on the touchline against Juventus after testing positive for COVID-19.

Spalletti's side have been ravaged by coronavirus issues over the mid-season break, leaving them somewhat short-handed for the trip to Turin on Thursday.

To make matters worse for the Naples outfit, their boss Spalletti returned a positive result for the virus on Tuesday that will keep him away from the Allianz Stadium as he heads into self-isolation.

On the same day, Napoli announced Mario Rui and fellow full-back Kevin Malcuit were isolating, while Andrea Petagna came into close contact with a positive case but was later given the all-clear.

That trio joins a host of stars within the Napoli ranks who will be absent for the clash with Massimiliano Allegri's side due to COVID-19 issues.

Hirving Lozano, who has featured in all of Napoli's 25 games in all competitions this term, was confirmed as unavailable last Tuesday after contracting the virus while back in Mexico.

Talisman Victor Osimhen, Fabian Ruiz and Eljif Elmas, all of whom are regular starters for the Serie A outfit, are also among the notable absentees ahead of the visit to the Bianconeri.

Reports in Italy suggest due to the ongoing situation at the club and across the country, the game could still yet be called off if local health authorities order Napoli to quarantine.

That would ban Spalletti's team from travelling to Juve and cancel the meeting between the two sides who sit third and fifth in Serie A respectively.

Milan head coach Stefano Pioli claimed his side did not deserve to lose against Napoli, dismissing any suggestion the Rossoneri's fitness levels have dropped.

Napoli headed to San Siro having lost consecutive league games but were ahead inside five minutes when Eljif Elmas managed his first league goal since early November – Napoli scoring their quickest top-flight goal against Milan since November 2012.

Visiting goalkeeper David Ospina was rarely called upon in a somewhat sedate affair, though Franck Kessie saw a stoppage-time finish ruled out by VAR for offside against Olivier Giroud, who was on the floor in the build-up to the midfielder's opportunity.

Napoli held on for back-to-back league clean sheets against Milan for the first time since 2015, as Luciano Spalletti's team leapfrogged Milan to move into second on goal difference, the pair four points back from leaders Inter.

However, Pioli – without a win against Spalletti in nine league meetings – believes his side's performance did not warrant a loss as he refuted suggestions Milan might be flagging in terms of fitness.

"We are not tired, we proved it tonight [Sunday]," Pioli told DAZN. "Yes we can play with more quality, certainly, but we played a game from the point of view of intensity and energy among the best in the league.

"From a physical and willpower point of view, the team were pleasing in every way. We missed the last step.

"But there are the regrets, such as the goal conceded and the balls lost. We played almost always in the Napoli half, we played a real, serious and energetic game. We are lacking a bit of quality at the moment, but the team didn't deserve to lose. The data is very close in victories and defeats, the team had a balanced performance.

"The important numbers that we take into consideration are the acceleration and deceleration; the numbers are more or less those from the start of the season. The coach's eyes are also important, and the team didn't do badly tonight."

 

Pioli's team would have been heading into the final Serie A matchday of 2021, when they visit Empoli on Wednesday, in second place if Kessie's late strike had not been ruled out.

The Milan head coach, who was pictured by television cameras among the celebrations near Napoli's goal for the apparent equaliser, accepted the decision – but still expressed confusion as to how Giroud was adjudged to be involved in the play.

"I know that in the end they will say that the ruling is right, but I ask how does a player on the ground, who does nothing to intervene, how does he cause damage to the defender? Giroud does nothing to intervene," Pioli said.

"Now let's lick our wounds and try to do better for Wednesday."

Eljif Elmas' first-half strike was the difference as Napoli leapfrogged Milan into second in Serie A with a 1-0 victory on Sunday. 

Luciano Spalletti's side lost consecutive league games against Atalanta and Empoli but struck first after just four minutes at San Siro through Elmas' header – his first top-flight goal since August.

Stefano Pioli's team pressed on in the second half but were unable to mount a comeback as their winless home league run against Napoli – which dates back to December 2014 – continued, although only a VAR intervention denied Franck Kessie a late equaliser.
 
Napoli overtake Milan to move into second, with the pair four points back from reigning champions Inter heading into the final matchday of 2021 on Wednesday.

The visitors were soon ahead when Elmas nodded in Piotr Zielinski's corner at the near post, Napoli scoring their fastest Serie A goal against Milan since November 2012.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic responded by flicking a header wide, while Alessandro Florenzi blasted a speculative long-range half-volley just off target as Milan failed to test David Ospina before the interval.

Ospina, though, was required immediately after the break to palm over from Ibrahimovic, with the Colombia international denying Junior Messias moments later.

Napoli had conceded six of their past seven league goals in the final 30 minutes, while Milan had scored the joint-most in that period (15), and Messias almost furthered that record but curled just wide.

Kessie thought he had netted a late leveller as he swept into the bottom-left corner, only for VAR to judge the prone substitute Olivier Giroud to be offside as the visitors managed to hang on to an important victory.

Eljif Elmas scored twice as Napoli earned a spot in the play-offs for the Europa League last 16 with a 3-2 win over Leicester City, who fall into the Europa Conference League.

Leicester travelled to Naples knowing they would guarantee a top-two finish in Group C if they could avoid defeat, but first-half strikes from Adam Ounas and Elmas put the hosts ahead on Thursday.

Jonny Evans and Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall quickly restored parity in a chaotic opening 45 minutes, only for Elmas to net again after the break and decisively edge Napoli back in front.

Luciano Spalletti's side settled for second – with Spartak Moscow defeating Legia Warsaw, following a 98th-minute penalty save, to top the group – and go into a two-legged play-off in February, while the third-placed visitors face a tie at the same stage of the Europa Conference League.

In a frantic start, Mario Rui's goal-line clearance denied Timothy Castagne following Dewsbury-Hall's cutback, before Napoli went up the other end and Ounas finished into the bottom-left corner after just four minutes.

Napoli doubled their lead when Andrea Petagna unselfishly squared for Elmas to tap in, but Evans quickly responded by firing past Alex Meret after James Maddison's free-kick was deflected towards him.

And Leicester were soon level as Dewsbury-Hall expertly volleyed into the bottom-right corner from the edge of the area.

Kasper Schmeichel pushed away from Ounas after the break, but the Denmark international was powerless when Elmas steered in to restore Napoli's advantage.

Maddison then spurned a glorious chance as he cannoned onto the post following Giovanni Di Lorenzo's mistake, and Jamie Vardy headed over in stoppage time after Schmeichel's save from Kevin Malcuit had kept Leicester's hopes alive.

Inter handed Serie A leaders Napoli their first defeat of the campaign as Hakan Calhanoglu recorded a goal and an assist in a 3-2 home victory on Sunday.

Napoli had not scored in any of their past four away league games against the Nerazzurri but Piotr Zielinski netted their first since April 2017 after 17 minutes to open the scoring at San Siro.

Calhanoglu soon levelled from the penalty spot before assisting Ivan Perisic's header that put Inter into the lead before the interval.

Lautaro Martinez added a third just after the hour mark and, despite a wonderful strike from substitute Dries Mertens, the reigning champions triumphed to close the gap on Milan and Napoli to four points at the summit, ending the visitors' 21-match unbeaten Serie A run in the process.

Martinez headed over as the highest scorers in the division looked to strike first against a defence that had conceded just four goals this term.

However, it was Napoli who took the lead when Zielinski arrowed into the top-right corner from the edge of the area following Lorenzo Insigne's offload.

That advantage lasted all of eight minutes as Calhanoglu rolled his spot-kick into the bottom-left corner after VAR deemed Kalidou Koulibaly to have handled Nicolo Barella's effort.

Calhanoglu turned provider for Inter's second as Perisic flicked the Turkey international's corner past David Ospina a minute before half-time.

Napoli's task mounted further when Martinez drilled into the bottom-left corner after Joaquin Correa's pass on the counter.

Inter seemed set for a comfortable victory until Mertens fired into the top-left corner after Koulibaly dispossessed Edin Dzeko, though the hosts managed to cling on thanks to Samir Handanovic tipping Mario Rui's late header onto the crossbar.

Napoli star Victor Osimhen described his match-winning header as the "most important goal of my career" after the record-equalling Serie A leaders preserved their perfect start to the season.

Osimhen rose highest to head home the winner with nine minutes remaining in Napoli's 1-0 victory at home to Torino on Sunday.

Napoli made it eight wins from eight games – the only team with a 100 per cent record in the top-five European leagues – to equal their best start to the Serie A season (after 2017-18), despite Lorenzo Insigne's missed penalty in the first half.

Osimhen revelled in his goal afterwards, with only Real Madrid's Karim Benzema (seven) and Borussia Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland (five) scoring more goals than the Nigerian forward (five) in September and October in the major five European leagues this year.

"It was the most important goal of my career," Osimhen said post-match. "I'm so pleased. The atmosphere at the stadium was incredible. The fans pushed us forward and we managed to get the three points.

"We never gave up, we attacked until the end and deserved the win. I saw the ball fly up and I thought I could get there before the defenders.

"I connected well and scored such an important goal for me and the team."

Napoli – who last won the Scudetto in 1989-90 – are two points clear of second-placed Milan.

"When you have strong players in attack, there are more solutions, so you always hope something can happen," Spalletti told DAZN.

"… I've seen an improvement in terms of mentality and compactness. Seeing [Matteo] Politano and Insigne track back is something that unites, gives strength and creates team spirit.

"We have a team of friends. We also want to propose a good football and tonight we were at a very good level. We built, fought and were willing to give what this game required."

"We obtained a big win for our fans who deserve it. We feel the passion for their love for these colours and the team. It was important to feel their joy tonight."

Insigne is the player who has missed the largest number of penalties (three) this season in the five major European leagues.

The Napoli captain missed his sixth penalty out of his 26 attempts in Serie A – considering only the current season, the Italian forward has scored two penalties out of his five attempts.

Since Napoli returned to Serie A in the 2007-08 season, they are the team that have missed the highest number of penalties in the five major European leagues (35).

"Lorenzo has a strong bond, especially with his team-mates who are helping him. He was sorry for not giving his contribution," Spalletti said. "For me, Insigne will take the next one, then it will be Lorenzo's turn and then the captain's."

Napoli captain Lorenzo Insigne stressed the Serie A leaders are staying grounded amid their flawless start to the season.

Insigne scored as red-hot Napoli – who have not claimed the Scudetto since 1990 – made it six wins from six league games with a 2-0 victory at home to Cagliari on Sunday.

Napoli star Victor Osimhen opened the scoring in the 11th minute before Insigne doubled the lead with a penalty 12 minutes into the second half.

Luciano Spalletti's Napoli have won each of their first six Serie A seasonal matches for the second time in their history after 2017-18, but Insigne insisted the team are not getting carried away.

"We've started well, but we need to keep our heads down, our feet on the ground, because it's a very, very long road ahead," Insigne told DAZN, with Napoli two points clear of Milan.

"It's an incredible feeling [with the fans], I am trying to enjoy it and repay everyone with my performances and helping the team to win the games."

Napoli have kept a clean sheet in three consecutive Serie A matches for the first time since February 2019.

Osimhen, meanwhile, has scored the joint-most goals in September across all competitions among the players in the top five European leagues – level with Real Madrid's Karim Benzema.

"The coach wants us to enjoy ourselves while we are working," Insigne said. "As captain, I can only say we need to keep our feet on the ground, as we missed out on the Champions League by a point last season, so we have to make up for that.

"We try to play Spalletti's football, he knows we were disappointed to only be in the Europa League and he’' trying to lift us up."

Page 1 of 2
© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.