Spalletti Demands Respect as Napoli Return to Serie A Summit

Napoli have regained control at the top of the Serie A table in the most dramatic fashion as they performed a sensational 2-1 win at Lazio to leapfrog Milan and Inter. After a dreadful Europa League elimination at the hands of Barcelona, many have doubted their capacity to shine in high-octane circumstances.

However, Napoli silenced their critics with a stellar performance at the Stadio Olimpico that could change the complexity of the Scudetto race this season. It took the Partenopei 62 minutes of play to break down Lazio’s stubborn defense, but they got there through their outgoing captain Lorenzo Insigne. 

The diminutive forward may be waving goodbye to his beloved Naples at the end of the season, but he surely wants to do it carrying a piece of silverware in his bags. And what better way to show the fans his commitment to the blue shirt than bagging another breathtaking mid-range stunner to open the scoring just after the hour mark.

In a true Insigne fashion, the 30-year-old curled the ball first time from the edge of the box and into the bottom corner to silence sold-out Olimpico. As the 90th minute approached, Napoli had thought they would get away with a 1-0 win. 

But Lazio had other plans as second-half substitute Pedro showed why he was an integral part of Pep Guardiola’s trophy-laden era at Barcelona.

The veteran forward latched onto the rebound close to the penalty area and hammered home a thunderous half-volley to restore parity with only a few minutes left on the clock. It appeared that Napoli had dropped two points again, yet the stars allied for Luciano Spalletti’s men this evening.

Indeed, when it looked like Pedro would break the Neapolitans’ hearts, Fabian Ruiz came up monumental to salvage three points for Spalletti’s side. When the visitors looked dead and buried, the ex-Betis midfielder produced a moment of beauty to slot home a well-struck effort from just outside the box right at the death. 

There are very few better ways to respond to critics about a lack of character and a winning mindset than grabbing such a precious victory in Rome with the last touch of the game. Aware that this is how the trophies are won, Spalletti demanded respect for his team following a theatrical evening in the nation’s capital. 

I think overall the team deserved the victory. 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,” the Italian manager said in the aftermath, as relayed by TUTTOmercatoWEB.

This team definitely has character. People said we couldn’t draw with Cagliari, but they went to beat Torino away from home today. We lost to Barcelona 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. here are many games, but this team has potential, it has character and showed it tonight. 

This is not the same Lazio that we beat earlier this season because they play good football. They work together to press and attack you, so we were wide awake.