Napoli Boss Spalletti Insists Napoli ‘Have Nothing to Prove’

Napoli instantaneously returned to winning ways following a 1-0 defeat at Inter last time out, dispatching a ten-man Sampdoria 2-0. Victor Osimhen and Elif Elmas were on the scoresheet at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris as the Partenopei re-established a seven-point cushion at the top of the Serie A standings.

Luciano Spalletti’s men suffered a narrow defeat at Giuseppe Meazza upon the top-flight return in 2023. That was their first and only loss in the 2022/23 Serie A season, with Napoli racking up 14 wins and two draws in the remaining 16 league matches otherwise. The 14th triumph came on Sunday at the expense of relegation-battling Sampdoria. 

Spalletti insisted that Napoli had nothing to prove in Genoa in the aftermath, admitting his team could’ve paid the price for squandering a spot-kick early on. 

We didn’t have to prove anything. Prove what? It could have become a very difficult match for us, even more so after the missed penalty,” he said, as relayed by TUTTOmercatoWEB

The team used their heads very well, they were mature in managing the flow of the game. We met a well-organized side. They were positioned well both at the beginning and after being outnumbered, giving us almost no space.

Despite beating Sassuolo 2-1 at Mapei last time out to arrest an underwhelming four-game losing Serie A streak, Dejan Stankovic’s team stood no chance against Napoli today. Matteo Politano spurned a golden opportunity to break the deadlock only four minutes into the game as Emil Audero thwarted his poor-taken penalty. 

However, there was no saving from free-scoring Osimhen, who latched onto Mario Rui’s low-driven cross to open the scoring in the 19th minute. The current Serie A top-scorer continued to torment Sampdoria’s out-of-sorts defense, drawing a red card down the final stretch of the first half. 

Tomas Rincon had no intention of winning the ball back as he made a cynical challenge on the Nigerian, who was bursting through, earning his marching orders straight away. Left with ten men, Sampdoria never had a realistic chance to fight their way back into this fixture. However, they cannot be accused of a lack of trying. 

Even if there was doubt concerning the outcome, Elmas made sure to play them down in the 82nd minute. The North Macedonia international slotted home a penalty after referee Rosario Abisso pointed to the spot for Ronaldo Vieira’s handball inside the box. 

And while Napoli consolidated their place at the top of the tree, Sampdoria’s hopes of securing survival took another blow. Stankovic’s men languish six points adrift of safety ahead of their trip to fellow bottom-half strugglers Empoli next week. 

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