Spalletti: "I expect us to move up a gear"

Notizie | 27/11/2021

Luciano Spalletti has called on his team to up their game when they face Lazio on Sunday in the wake of recent defeats to Inter and Spartak Moscow.

““Lazio are a strong team but I expect the lads to move up a gear compared to the last few matches,” the coach said during his pre-match media conference on Saturday.

Napoli have a few injury problems.

“We have a high-quality squad and we’re well prepared for anything. Obviously, the team has to play in a way that reflects this quality.

“Every game, we have to offer something more to be at a higher level than we were before. I’m the first one under examination, as I have to give the right advice to the players.”

How important is tomorrow’s game?

“It has a different significance, because our last two results have not been good. Obviously, we’ll face a team of the same level as us. Lazio are one of the seven teams at the top of the table.

“We have to continue as before without being affected by recent results. Certainly, there are moments during the season when you have to get back on track.”

What happened with the Spartak coach at the end of the game?

“As far as I’m concerned, if someone doesn’t say hello to me, they don’t deserve me shaking their hand. In the game against Inter, all the players came up to me, despite people saying different things regarding my relationship with the team. Obviously, that doesn’t interest anyone.”

Tomorrow there will be an event before the match to celebrate Diego Maradona.  Will this give you extra energy?

“Maradona is always in our thoughts: both of the players and the fans. The greatness of Diego is everywhere we go. For me personally, the main thing is the feeling of emptiness that was created when he passed away. This sense of loss is emblematic of his greatness. To say that he was the greatest player in the world is to say nothing, because the depth of his soul went beyond football. He was able to make all those around him great.”

What type of opponent is Maurizio Sarri?

“His teams are very organised, and always know what to do to hurt their opponents. Also, Lazio have a high-quality squad and will be really challenging to play against.

“We’ll need to keep our lines tight and stay compact. We mustn’t leave space and we have to move forward together.”

How much will Victor Osimhen be missed?

“Victor is a unique striker. However, we have two strikers in [Dries] Mertens and [Andrea] Petagna with different but effective skills. We have a complete squad which offers depth, so we'ill stay calm and continue to follow the path we have planned.

“We need to refine our attacking options a little. Obviously, you always need to improve and do something more. Overall, the team has scored a lot of goals so far.”

Could Mertens be the key to the change?

“Dries can play in all of the positions in attack. He can have an impact on a game even if he is not in a specific position. He’s a striker that defenders always find difficult to mark compared to a typical and more predictable centre-forward.”