Keeping the Nigerian in check will be key to Verona’s hopes of a result in Naples.
Hellas Verona boss Igor Tudor is unfazed by the challenge of coming up against in-form league leaders Napoli on Sunday.
The Gialloblu travel to the south of Italy on Sunday evening in search of a first league win on the road against their high-flying hosts since the 1982/83 season. An already difficult task is further complicated by the return to fitness of Napoli star striker Victor Osimhen, who is once more available for selection after a calf injury that has kept him out for three matches.
“It will be a difficult match with one of the favorites for the Scudetto,” the Croatian manager admitted. “Along with Milan, they have shown more than anyone else.
“(Napoli) have strong players and a coach who has proven to be among the best. For us it is a great motivation to try to do well there: the goal is to establish ourselves as we have done so far, without neglecting anything.”
Verona are themselves in reasonable form: Tudor’s men have not lost any of their last three matches, and have already claimed wins over Juventus and Roma this season. They come into Sunday’s encounter in search of only their second clean sheet in the league this season, however. This will no doubt offer some encouragement to their hosts, who are the third-highest scorers in Serie A so far this season, and will once again be able to call upon the firepower of Nigerian Osimhen in attack.
The striker has scored five league goals for the Azzurri in league play already, but his all-round threat has also proved valuable indirectly. No one has won more penalties than the 22-year-old’s three, and he averages the fifth-most shots per game in Serie A. If Verona hope to emerge from the Stadio Diego Maradona with something, they will have to keep Osimhen quiet.
On that front, however, Tudor declared himself confident in his team’s ability to resist. “Even though (Osimhen) is a strong player, especially in attacking spaces, I think our defenders are also good,” he said.
“I am confident, as I was before all the games we played. We also faced strong teams, and my defenders held up doing things no one could have predicted. I am confident that they can do the same tomorrow.”
A win for Verona could see them rise to a European spot in the table while, for Napoli, a win could put some separation between them and chasers AC Milan, who face city rivals Inter in the Derby Della Madonina later on.