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Calzona urges Napoli to be optimistic after 6-1 rout of Sassuolo

Francesco Calzona affirms that Victor Osimhen and Kvicha Kvaratskhelia were facing difficulties at Napoli, but the 6-1 victory over Sassuolo should instill them with optimism regarding Champions League qualification.

Napoli’s third coach of the season, Francesco Calzona, kicked off with two 1-1 draws against Barcelona in the Champions League and Cagliari in Serie A.

Negativity seemed inevitable when Uros Racic scored for Sassuolo against the flow of the game in tonight’s rescheduled Week 21 match.

Nevertheless, they staged a comeback with goals from Amir Rrahmani, a hat-trick by Osimhen, and a brace from Kvaratskhelia.

“Victor is returning to his levels. Clearly, he wasn’t in great shape after the Africa Cup of Nations, he was away for over a month and is slowly rediscovering his form.

“Kvara also struggled, but today showed just what he can do,” Calzona told DAZN.

“I sensed positivity from the first training session, the lads aways gave me their all. I was surprised to see how eager they were to work, to stay together, and that gave me hope.”

Calzona explains Osimhen and Kvaratskhelia’s struggles

Calzona is no stranger to the Napoli squad from his time as an assistant manager to both Maurizio Sarri and Luciano Spalletti, while he currently holds the role of Slovakia coach.

“It has been a difficult season for these players and it is not easy for them to shake off those negative effects. We’ve been working together for a week now, I saw the intensity rise, a different quality of training. It is thanks to the lads, as they really want to improve the current situation.”

Under Rudi Garcia and Walter Mazzarri, both Kvaratskhelia and Osimhen encountered significant challenges. How has Calzona managed to rejuvenate them, even when making substitutions?

“They were struggling due to various reasons, but they never caused controversy, they just got their heads down and worked. I am not some madman who would do without players of this quality, but if they are losing intensity, then I have to introduce fresh legs, especially as those who came on have given me a strong response so far.”

Calzona worked under Spalletti in the year before the Scudetto, but insists he is not trying to copy his mentor.

“What Spalletti did with this team cannot be equalled. I just try to propose a simple style of football, aiming to spend more time in the opposition half. The lads have made giant leaps forward, we are starting to find some organization, so we must continue along this path and improve everything we did today.

“We want to play good football and make the fans happy, as so many of them travelled to see us today and I told the players they really are an extra weapon for us.”

Ethan Dempsey
Ethan Dempsey
Ethan is a lifelong football fan. When he is not obsessing over the Premier League games, Ethan likes to read fantasy tomes, watch football documentaries and waste hours upon hours on video games.


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