Luciano Spalletti was full of praise for the unity in the Napoli squad after Giovanni Simeone came off the bench to beat Roma and described Victor Osimhen as “the complete package”.
The Partenopei were already 12 points clear going into the second half of the season and only expanded that lead to 13 points thanks to this hard-fought victory and the crumbling form of Milan.
Osimhen scored perhaps the best goal of his Napoli career, control with his chest, then thigh before a volley into the roof of the net, cancelled out by Stephan El Shaarawy at the back post.
It was Cholito Simeone who came off the bench and confirmed their sheer strength in depth to snatch the winner in the final minutes.
“You win these games if you prove that you are determined to win, from the kit staff to the last man on the bench,” Spalletti told DAZN.
“These are complicated matches, but those who came on proved that they were already in the game from the bench.
“That is a fundamental quality for our team, because these long seasons with this intensity, if you don’t have everyone within the daily work and enthusiastic about what their teammates do, eager to play alongside their teammates rather than just take their place, then you won’t get these results.”
Since three points for a win were introduced in 1994-95, no team has been 13 points clear after just 20 rounds.
Spalletti was asked about the role of the full-backs at Napoli, with Giovanni Di Lorenzo and Mario Rui cutting inside, as Kvicha Kvaratskhelia and Hirving Lozano push up.
He added: “We play like that because of the characteristics we have at our disposal.
“When you are facing a five-man defence, if we play inside and pass it down the right, then cross to the left-back, then they don’t have time to cover the space on the other side and we can reach the edge of the box.
“We didn’t have as much courage and quality as usual in moving the ball around tonight, so consequently that helped Roma with the high press.
“We also didn’t give Osimhen the right service, but he did well to find the spaces anyway.”
That Osimhen goal was perhaps the best of his Napoli career and Spalletti was exhilarated by it too.