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Dries Mertens and Lorenzo Insigne have credited Victor Osimhen for turning around Napoli’s Serie A season opener which ended in a 2-0 win over Parma on Sunday.
The 21-year-old Nigerian started from the bench and after a cagey first half, came on for Diego Demme on the hour mark and not long after his introduction, the Partenopei took the lead thanks to Mertens.
Osimhen’s presence was evident, registering four key passes, two shots, albeit off-target, making two clearances and completing all five his passes.
Napoli were all over their opponents and Insigne doubled their lead with 13 minutes left on the clock.
“We wanted to win and start well,” Mertens said on the club website. “I am happy for the goal. I must say that it is not easy to be brilliant playing at midday considering the weather and the heat.
“Despite this, however, in the second half, we gave our best. Osimhen’s entry helped us, but I must say that in this group there are many players who can also be decisive when entering.
“We are happy with the performance but also with the attitude on the pitch. This is the right mentality to face the season.”
Insigne was making his 350th appearance and asserted Osimhen’s performance reminded him of Napoli legend Edinson Cavani.
“We grew with conviction in the second half, Osimhen’s entry also helped us and we found the way to goal in a few minutes,” he said.
“Victor is an attacker who has great speed, has complementary and different characteristics compared to me and Dries and can represent a different solution for the attack. In some places, he reminds me of Cavani, for his ability to attack the goal and physical strength.”
Napoli’s head coach Gennaro Gattuso also praised Victor Osimhen, describing him as “a young lad with the head of a 40-year-old”
“In the second half we were better at aggression,” he said.
“Osimhen’s entry was important, but I have no doubts about the boy. He is a quality striker and he is also a boy of great humility. He is loved by everyone and for me, this component is very important.”