Spaletti: Osimhen must learn to watch markers

Spaletti: Osimhen must learn to watch markers

Napoli head coach Luciano Spalletti has given his star striker Victor Osimhen some advice on his overall gameplay.

Osimhen scored a brace to help Napoli climb to second in the Serie A on Sunday but his coach Spaletti says that the striker's game is far from complete.

A 14th-minute powerful header and a 71st-minute finish from the striker helped the Partenopei to a 2-1 victory over Hellas Verona. Both goals took his goal tally to eight in the Serie A and 12 in the season across all competitions from 24 games played, making him Napoli's highest goalscorer this season.

Regardless of the 23-year-old's impressive performance, Spalletti has maintained that the Nigerian is a long way off from being the finished article.

“Osimhen still doesn’t realise the distance from his marker, sometimes he runs towards the ball and has the time and space to control, pick his spot. He doesn’t need to rush,” Spalletti told DAZN after the game.

“He can start a run from midfield; take on four or five defenders by himself with that pace, so he has such potential.”

Osimhen not Serie A's best

Verona manager Igor Tudor claimed before the match that Osimhen is not Serie A's best striker and instead picked Juventus' Dusan Vlahovic as the best striker in the league.

DAZN asked Spaletti of his thoughts on the comments but the Italian refused to give a definite answer. “Dusan [Vlahovic] is a champion and if a club like Juventus signed him, it means they checked carefully he has everything required to play at that level,” Spalletti answered.

The Italian tactician then went on to stress on the areas which the former Wolfsburg forward had to improve on to stay at the top.

“Osimhen is a top player with everything on his side. He’s young, he’s a good lad, he can be a bit too enthusiastic and gives his all. When we are talking about timing, movement, the dummy on a defender to change direction, these are the areas where he needs to improve.”

Osimhen: I believe Napoli can win the Scudetto

Osimhen, excited to be back on the scoresheet, spoke to DAZN after the match about Napoli's chances of winning the Serie A title.

The Partenopei started the season in blistering form, with Osimhen contributing greatly to their 10 wins from their first 10 games. They were on top of the table until mid-November when they started to drop.

After sometime hovering around in the top-six, Napoli are back in the top two of the Serie A and are only three points from the top spot and a first Scudetto in decades.

The Nigerian striker has played a great role in this run in just his second season at the club, justifying his huge price tag which is also Napoli's record amount shelled out for a player.

Osimhen said to DAZN about Napoli's chances:  “Like I always say, we have to continue to win. In order to win the Scudetto, we must try to win every game this season. Today was a step towards our objective and I believe we can do it.

“I think after the defeat to Milan everyone was upset, so we went into difficult ground against an organised team with determination and desire to win, it’s a deserved win.”

Six of Osimhen's eight goals for Napoli in the league have been headers and he was asked about his ability in the air.

“I’ve been doing some practice in training, Mario Rui and Di Lorenzo helped me with some crosses. I wanted to have more confidence with my head, it’s really important to me and I want to continue like this.”

This article was most recently revised and updated 8 months ago

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