Spalletti supports Osimkhen and Kvaratskhelia to shine again in the Champions League

    Luciano Spalletti backed Napoli star pairing Victor Osimkhen and Khvich Kvaratskhelia to rise to the occasion as they prepare to face Eintracht Frankfurt in the Champions League round of 16.

    Osimkhen and Kvaratskhelia were two of Napoli’s standouts this season, boasting a 15-point lead in Serie A and advancing through their Champions League group earlier this season.

    Ahead of his first match in Germany against the reigning Europa League holders, Spalletti praised both, as well as the club’s executives who brought them to Naples.

    “In terms of maturity, you can see Osimhen’s reaction to Sassuolo. [on Friday] As an example [when he asked to come off after feeling a potential injury]”, he told reporters. “Once he realized that he had a small problem, he correctly assessed the situation by asking for a replacement.

    “This is a player who can evaluate things very well, these two types [Osimhen and Kvaratskhelia] they are two of those who really have the flair, the imagination, the quality to send a message to world football. However, they are two very young boys.

    “[Sporting director, Cristiano] Giuntoli and [chairman, Aurelio] De Laurentiis knew how to choose them from a very large group of players, these young people still need to form, mature.

    “Tomorrow night there will be an event to attack. I think they can interpret it. Fear is not allowed. We will see football that only those who are at this level are capable of.”

    The former Roma and Inter manager also drew on a Christmas analogy given to him by a reporter, comparing the Champions League play-offs to Christmas morning.

    “I have to give the deer some milk because it’s the night before, it’s a party for me,” he replied. “Let’s see if we can unwrap the presents or not.”

    Spalletti will take on Oliver Glasner, who has made an impression at Eintracht since taking over in 2021.

    “I know him well, because I already met him when I was the coach of Zenit, there is mutual respect, as far as each other’s work is concerned, on my part,” said the Italian.

    “I have a few people that Napoli provide me who go to see the teams that manage to play good football. Ever since he won the Europa League, we’ve been watching what Glasner is doing too.

    “He’s modern, he knows how to get his team to play very short, he knows very well how to press high, bring down the team’s block and start again in space. He has players who know how to use this space very well.

    “We congratulate him on the football he has played, he does it even in the league. That is why it will be delicate and difficult.”

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