Napoli manager Gennaro Gattuso says Victor Osimhen is yet to scratch the surface of his abilities and believes the Nigerian striker has so much more in store after he failed to score on his competitive debut on Sunday.
Osimhen joined Napoli from Lille in the summer for a club and African record and impressed in preseason most notably scoring back to back hat-tricks against D’Avila and Teramo.
His lethal finishing and all round display had fans drooling expectantly and anticipation mounted as the new Serie A season neared.
Gattuso named the 21-year-old on the bench for the season opening trip to Parma and brought him on for his debut on the hour mark as Napoli’s toothless attack laboured for a breakthrough with the game a barren stalemate.
Osimhen’s introduction had the galvanising effect Gattuso had hoped for as Napoli’s hitherto lethargic attack suddenly looked rejuvenated and turbo charged.
Napoli’s opener from record scorer Dries Mertens resulted from Osimhen bravely throwing himself at a header which was poorly cleared by a Parma defender, with Mertens calmly passing the ball into the net. It took just three minutes between Osimhen’s entrance and the opening goal.
Osimhen’s constant running, intelligent maneuvering and use of the ball resulted in a host of chances for himself and his teammates including an excellent chance that was spurned by Lorenzo Insigne.
Insigne made amends with Napoli’s second 13 minutes from time to make the game safe for the visitors.
All that was missing to cap an excellent performance for Osimhen was a debut goal and while he showed he could bring other qualities than goals, Gattuso said there’s more to come from the Nigerian who he said is a lot better than his showing on the pitch so far suggests.
“Victor Osimhen is a serious guy, who’s got here on his own merit,” Gattuso said after the game.
“He’s better than what he’s shown on the pitch up until now.”
Commenting on his side’s overall performance, Gattuso said more improvements are needed and cautioned his side against complacency.
“What matters is our principles of play. If you want to play football you need to run and have quality – the latter alone is not enough,” he said.
“The team needs balance – we need to improve on second balls. In the last few minutes we took our foot off the gas a touch. We can’t give our opponents anything.
“I want to see a team that is well organised and used to taking each game at a time. We need to work with calm and commitment.”