Luciano Spalletti has revealed that his new obsession is returning to the Champions League and believes the President will give him tools to secure a place among the top fours in Italy.
has said that Dries Mertens, who underwent shoulder surgery, is going to take a few more days to recover.
“I spoke to Mertens the day before the surgery,”
Spalletti said at a press conference.
“He would like to come and say hello, but it’s clear he will be granted a few more days.”
Spalletti believes Napoli are a strong team and have great potential.
“Napoli are a strong team, I can’t wait to be inside and see how strong they are,” the new coach continued.
“Sometimes being strong, without knowing it, doesn’t lead to where you want to go. Ever since they told me I was going to be the Napoli coach, I never took my eyes off them.
“It’s a team that I like and that suits me.”
The 62-year-old coach left Inter in May 2019 and has not worked since then and is thrilled and excited for returning to a Serie A club.
“I had some time to stay at home for a while and it’s easy there, you are with the family and live in the countryside,” he said. “Sometimes it’s good because you walk a lot and strengthen your feet.
“Having strong feet is a beautiful thing. I was happy from the first moment I was told to come here, Napoli are a strong team and the city is a great city.
“They complete my soul tour, I coached at Roma in the Pope’s city, then in St. Petersburg, in the city of the Tsars, and then Milan, the city of fashion.
“Now there’s Napoli and I’m proud to sit on the bench of the team where [Diego] Maradona played. It’s the city in which football and miracles are the same.”
Fans are still disappointed by their 1-1 draw against Hellas Verona which cost them a place in the Champions League.
“We have only one way, one answer: the results,” Spalletti added. “There’s no other way. To the fans, what you give them, they will return with interest, it’s an important project to coach here.
“I like the slogan, ‘I’ll be with you’, the battle song of many games. I particularly like it because it’s a signal, a cry of belonging that must never be lacking in teams and in sport, but it’s a hand that the city extends to you. It’s strong, important, and we will have to hold it tight to go far, prove that you deserve this shirt.
“It’s a team from the city, almost all of the are Azzurri fans, and therefore we must return the love of the people with our behavior and availability on the pitch.”
Lorenzo Insigne’s contract expires in June 2022 and has not been extended as he has been linked with a move away from the club.
“In my opinion, it would be better to talk to him first, than to you about your captain, but since I speak well of Insigne, I think it won’t bother him,” Spalletti said.
“I spoke to Insigne on the phone, I told him that I would like to take this journey with him by my side. Then, there are other issues and those we will analyze together with him when he returns.
“We must congratulate him and [Giovanni] Di Lorenzo for the spectacular European Championship, who adapt to everything and always do it with great quality.
“And [CT Roberto] Mancini, for the team he has set up, it’s evident that it looks more like a team than a selection of players.
“Much of his time as a coach, he spends on scoring goals and proposing attacking football.”
Spalletti intends to work hard for ‘people to remember’ his time at the club.
“I always do everything. I always wake up in good shape,” he added. “Then maybe I deform according to what I find.
“I’m here to try to train this Napoli well, to make as many results as possible for Napoli. Napoli loves its heroes, me and my team would like people to remember for the city.”
Spalletti revealed that returning to the Champions League is his obsession and believes the President will give him the tools to secure a place among the top four in Italy.
“It seems to me that the President has touched the right keys, we need to fix the accounts and return to the Champions League,” he continued. “It’s clear that to get into the top four, you need strong players.
“It will be my obsession to return to the Champions League. Someone wrote that I would keep all the players I have and that the team as it is would suit me, and indeed, this is a strong team.
“Then we know that due to expiring contracts and COVID, the next Napoli will be different from the previous ones.
“We are here for this, to build an equally strong Napoli.”
Spalletti was reluctant to talk about the upcoming transfer market but insisted that the management is trying to ‘seize the opportunities’.
“We have people who study the situation, to be ready to seize the opportunities,” he said. I have spoken to the President several times and it’s clear that something more is being said between us.
“We can tell at the moment. We will try to put all the boxes in the right place, even off the pitch.”
The new coach wants to see a united Napoli where all the players work for each other.
“You have to be good at doing a little bit of everything, sometimes some things others don’t allow you,” he said.
“If you look at the big teams like Liverpool, [Manchester] City, Real [Madrid], there are times when they too put themselves in front of the line to make a defensive block, sometimes tactically to open spaces.
“The national team knew how to adapt and went to the Final, but the fundamental step is that you do everything as a team, not disunited and tattered around, but always in 30 meters, aggressive and tough when you go under pressure.
“You run for the team when you have to defend, the game must be filled with things, not just one. Then there’s the dirty work, the tackles, all those things that help the teammates travel fewer meters, to give more breath.”