Capello: “Napoli thought they could win without fighting. That’s why Conte is the right man.”


Legendary Italian coach Fabio Capello believes Antonio Conte is the right man to take over at Napoli: ‘Conte is the right profile to restore desire to the team.’ The Partenopei endured a torrid 2023-24, struggling to defend their historic Scudetto win the season before. Writing in La Gazzetta dello Sport, Capello explained why he believes Conte is the perfect appointment for Napoli at this time, saying they need to restore some fight to the team:

“If there was a need for a shake-up, Antonio Conte is the right man. Napoli is a team to rebuild. I believe that the former coach of Inter and Juve is the right profile to bring back to the 2022-23 Italian champions the desire to win and the determination needed to compete again after a season in which they lost much of their certainty.

“In the season that has just ended, Napoli’s players settled, thinking they could prove themselves to be good, to win without fighting. This is the general atmosphere that practically enveloped the team throughout the championship. Then there were specific problems that contributed to making the negative difference seen on the field and in the standings. We’re talking about a whopping 37 points and nine positions less than the triumph.

“This year, one of the aspects to be seriously evaluated is Victor Osimhen’s season. The Nigerian center forward was first absent for a long time due to the Africa Cup of Nations, then he had other “problems”, let’s call them that, he almost never managed to get into the right mindset on the field, unlike when Spalletti was there, where he was really the man who made the difference. Another significant loss was in the center of defence, with the departure of the Korean Kim. A fundamental element, who with his recoveries often prevented the team from conceding goals.

“Other players then performed less. It’s useless to name names; we’re talking at an overall level about a team that has shown it no longer has the attention and anger necessary to be a winner in a tough league like our Serie A. And concretely, on the field, the lack of the speed that had characterized Spalletti’s game was noticeable. Conte, given his history, is the right man to give Napoli back everything it has lost, and we’ve seen how much that is.

“The difficult question to answer is whether the Salento coach will be able to coexist with a personality as strong as that of President Aurelio De Laurentiis. Much will depend on how the season starts. We’re talking first of all about the transfer window. At the moment, it’s difficult to say what the new Napoli will be like and where it can go. The demands that will come to the club for Osimhen and Kvaratskhelia, those players who made the difference in the season of the third scudetto, will have to be evaluated. Especially regarding the Georgian, it seems that Conte has rightly expressed himself to the ownership so that he is not sold.

“As far as I know Antonio, he will have made all the necessary assessments and understood that in his playing system, Kvara can and must be strategic. In the city, enthusiasm has exploded like on July 5, 1984, when Maradona arrived. But beware, Diego was on the field, he will be on the bench, it’s not the same thing. Conte will have to ensure that the team executes what he has in mind; Maradona with the ball at his feet did things his way. He invented… However, Antonio’s charisma is indisputable. And then the experience: he has shown his coaching value almost everywhere.

“He will make the team play with great attention and determination. There is already much talk of the formation he will use at Napoli, 3-4-3, 3-5-2, 4-3-3… But for me, the numbers matter little; I am for the intelligence of the coach, who makes the team play based on the players he has. It is also crucial that Napoli will not have European competitions, so Antonio will have time to work much more deeply on the team, on the playing system, on the psychology of the players. Finally, Oriali’s role will be important, whom Conte strongly wanted. To intervene with head and moderation in moments of imbalance and lack of clarity on the part of the coach himself or the president. A winning team is also rebuilt in this way.”


Serie A obsessive.