Luciano Spalletti was an angry, disappointed Manager after 90 minutes watching his Napoli team launch a late unsuccessful bid to scrap through a point against Fiorentina in the 3-2 defeat at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona on Sunday.
More likely Spalletti was disappointed because no title contending team should be dropping points against a yo-yo form team like Fiorentina.
Apparently from his post match remarks, the 63 year-old’s angst at his players stemmed from the lack of application after what would have been a thorough opposition scouting report which was detailed to the T.
“It’s a painful defeat that I am struggling to digest,” Spalletti said after the match.
“I’m very sorry, especially for the supporters. I’m also sorry about the attitude demonstrated by the team because during the week they looked to have the right mindset, but today we weren’t as decisive.
“This wasn’t a robbery by Fiorentina. We had to do much more. We lost our individual battles and we dealt badly with individual moments.
“I’ll say it again – it’s a painful one because the team has had the right attitude and mentality until now. This makes the fight for the Scudetto even tougher. It won’t depend solely on us.”
And the Coach was right, Napoli had the right mentality until Fiorentina happened.
Three straight wins and had only lost once in their last 12 league matches until Sunday. The only defeat had been against title rivals AC Milan in Naples.
Even on their off day, it’s atypical for Napoli to grind out a result and a few were achieved even in more difficult circumstances without the top scorer and super star, Victor Osimhen.
Before kick off against Fiorentina, Osimhen was handed his award for the best player in Serie for the month of March.
No other attacker scored more in that period and despite initial injury fears, which caused him to miss a few practice sessions prior Sunday’s game, the Nigerian was relied on to lead the troops to Victory.
The Scudetto chasers were down 3-1 by the 72nd minute, before Osimhen further cut the deficit with a goal in the 84th minute to add to his assist.
Indeed like Spalletti pointed out that defeat is a major set back to Napoli’s chances of a third league title and the first in 32 years.
They have only their own destiny in their own hands and must now rely on results elsewhere to be in the picture for the title race.
A wish that fate nearly granted when despite wins for Inter Milan and Juventus, that puts pressure on Spalletti’s men they got some reprieve when AC Milan were held to a goalless result against Torino.
However, from here on out, Gli Azzurri cannot afford to slip up.