Napoli coach Luciano Spalletti called out his league leaders’ detractors, saying they showed great character in a 2-1 Serie A win at Lazio.
Luciano Spalletti was delighted to have quietened Napoli’s critics after Fabian Ruiz’s 94th-minute strike saw off Lazio at the Stadio Olimpico and propelled the visitors to the Serie A summit.
After Lorenzo Insigne had opened the scoring, Pedro’s superb late volley looked to have denied Napoli a crucial victory, only for Fabian to curl in a brilliant last-gasp winner to put Spalletti’s men ahead in an enthralling title race.
Napoli’s return of 18 points from their eight league matches in 2022 is the best in Serie A, as they bid for a first Scudetto since the Diego Maradona era, while the late goal condemned Lazio to just their second home defeat of the league campaign.
Spalletti, who joined in with his players’ wild celebrations after the goal, said Napoli deserved the victory after the contest. Still, he seemed more concerned with quietening those who criticised his men.
Spalletti told DAZN:
“I think overall, the team deserved the victory.
“I want to underline that everyone keeps moaning that this team doesn’t have character, it’s soft, it’s sluggish.
“And I want to hear them say that now.
“This team has character. But, unfortunately, we lost to Barcelona [4-2 in Naples] after getting to Camp Nou.
“It was my fault because I told them to take that approach.
“I see an ugly atmosphere around this team, people trying to say we lack character. I want to see them say that now.
“We hit a snag. But, we got straight back on our feet again and poured forward to find the winner.
“I don’t think it’s a bad thing to say this was a deserved victory.”
Fabian has now scored the most goals from outside the box, with all six of his strikes coming from range.
Moreover, the midfielder has netted as many goals this term as he did in the last two seasons.
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