Sunday September 20 2020
Gattuso: 'Osimhen is an added bonus'

Napoli coach Gennaro Gattuso praised Victor Osimhen after his inspiring debut in the 2-0 win against Parma. ‘He has a great attitude’

The Nigerian came on to completely change the game for the Partenopei, who had struggled to break through the Parma defence in the first 60 minutes of the match.

“It’s not about numbers, but the principles of football,” Gattuso told DAZN.

“We know Osimhen is an added bonus, but we need to run before we have quality, because quality is not enough on its own. We must set out the team with the right concepts and protect the defence, but we knew that Osimhen could give us another gear in the final 20-25 minutes today.

“Osimhen is a lad who, in the 25 days I’ve been working with, I can tell doesn’t forget where he started from, who made sacrifices, lost his family very young and has the head of a 40-year-old on 21-year-old shoulders.

“I am confident he won’t change, as he has a great attitude and at this moment is a better player than he’s so far shown on the pitch.”

Napoli changed to a 4-2-3-1 in the second half, as Gattuso wanted to ‘step up the tempo’ and get closer to the Parma players.

“Playing with Fabian Ruiz and Piotr Zielinski in midfield with three or four forwards ahead of them… When I was a player, I was happy just keeping a clean sheet, but I want more entertainment now that I am a coach.

“It’s not really something I am accustomed to and I envy those coaches who know it well.

“When it comes to coming back to get the ball, Fabian Ruiz is one of the best. Playing a two-man midfield, he needs to improve the way he covers the space and moves around the pitch.

“We kept possession in the first half and never really attacked the space, so that was the thing we needed to improve, as well as stepping up the tempo and improving on the second balls.

Despite picking up a comfortable 2-0 win in the first match of 2020-21, Gattuso wants his team to finish off the match with the same focus until the final whistle.

“In the last seven or eight minutes, when we saw the official award six minutes of stoppages, we started walking around and allowing throw-ins.

“This is where the team has to improve, as for years Napoli have been too soft in the details and those can be damaging.

“I want to see a team that is balanced and in difficult moments they all contribute to help each other out, which I didn’t see that much last season.”

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