Walter Mazzarri’s return to Napoli got off to a solid start, with a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Atalanta in Bergamo. The Partenopei got back to winning ways and were boosted by the return of Victor Osimhen, who helped set up the winning goal. Speaking in the post-match, Mazzarri explained his approach to the game and the things he’s worked on:
“A victory in this season and against this team was not easy and will not be easy for anyone. The way we played the first half, I did not expect this level suffering. We had been almost perfect. In the second half we dropped too much.”
“I tried to touch on this point: we are the team that won the championship, that played the best football in Italy… Difficulties were to be expected this year. The other teams are now putting their full attention on us. We knew it would be a more complicated year. I tried to work on this aspect. I tried to put my own spin on it from a tactical point of view. We also worked a lot on the line. We went back to being short and compact, we went back to immediate reconquest. In short, a lot of things.
“Victor Osimhen returned, we knew he was crucial. He’s coming back and has played reduced minutes but I hope he’ll be fit as soon as possible. We need him a lot. I had seen how he performed last year or at the start of the season. Kvaratskhelia? We tried to do different things. We tried to get to him first. The kiss on his head? A feeling was born with these guys.
“The guys are a sponge. They learned everything in a positive way, trying to make the new dictates their own. Olivera? The doctors tell me it won’t be a minor thing, but we’ll wait for the doctors.”