Napoli’s new coach leads first big win since the ‘Kiminjae era’

After a dominant 6-1 league win, Napoli’s new coach Francesco Calzona has described the club’s era under Kim Min-Jae as “incomparable”.

Napoli defeated Sauolo 6-1 in the 2023-24 Serie A Round 26R match at the Città del Tricolore on Monday morning (ET).

Napoli’s ‘goal fireworks’ began in the 29th minute of the match when Amir Lamini equalized off a fantastic heel kick pass from Andre-Jambo Anguissa with the score at 0-1.

Victor Osimhen’s hat-trick followed to seal the victory. Osimhen completed the trifecta in the 31st and 41st minutes of the first half and two minutes into the second half.

The final two goals were scored by Hvitsa. Hvitsa scored in the sixth and 30th minutes of the second half. Osimhen’s long pass into space to Hvitsa on the counter-attack was particularly impressive.

Napoli coach Francesco Calzona took over from Valtere Marchisio, who was sacked on Tuesday after a dominant performance. It was a solid performance after two consecutive draws (Barcelona and Cagliari).

Commenting on his players’ overall performance, Calzona said: “Osimhen is getting back to his level. As I said last week, the African Cup of Nations was a strain on the players, so they weren’t at their best, but little by little they’re getting back to their best. Hvitsa had a difficult time today,” he assessed.

“From the first training session, I was convinced that the team would change because the players were full of enthusiasm. I didn’t expect this result to come so quickly. It’s a surprise for me. I came to the team at a difficult time, and it’s not easy to bring the winning mentality back . We’ve been working together for about a week now, but I’ve seen an increase in intensity, I’ve seen an increase in the quality of training. The players want to improve the difficult situation they are in,” he said, indirectly explaining what went into this victory.

However, Calzona added: “We are in a situation where we have to be fully prepared for every match. We need to score as many points as possible and at least have some hope. The players know that and they are determined to play with no regrets until the end of the season.”

He also hinted at a potential transfer. “I might sound like a crazy person for saying this, but even though Osimhen and Hvitsa are two great players and key resources that we can’t afford to lose, if I see that we are losing intensity during the game, I will boldly sell them and bring in someone new,” he said.

Finally, Calzona cited Kim’s time with Spalletti as an “incomparable achievement. “It’s hard to compare the era of my predecessor and now. I try to propose a simple football. The players have made great progress and we want to play a little more organized. We have to 토토 keep improving, we have to play good football and make the fans happy,” he added.

The win was the first in a long time for Napoli, who had gone four games without a win. They remain in ninth place (40 points) in the league, 29 points behind leaders Inter Milan, but still have a chance of qualifying for the UEFA Champions League. They are six points behind fourth-place Atalanta (46).

Napoli sacked Walter Mazzarri two days before their UEFA Champions League round of 16 first leg home tie against Barcelona. The club then named Francesco Calzona, the Slovenian national team coach, as his successor.

The last time Napoli won by as many as five points was two years ago. The last time Spalletti and Kim Min-jae worked together, Napoli won 6-1 against Ajax in the 2022-23 UEFA Champions League.

Kim didn’t have a big role in the team’s overwhelming performance, but he was applauded for his performances in the buildup, including an 82% pass completion rate, which earned him a 7.2 rating.

Napoli won 6-1 for the first time in the Kim Min-jae era, and it remains to be seen if their small wings will carry them to the UEFA Champions League.

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