'Players who went to AFCON' - Napoli chief admits absence of Osimhen contributed to defeat to TorinoPublished: January 08, 2024
Mauro Meluso, sporting director of Napoli, says the absence of Victor Osimhen contributed to the Italians champions suffering an embarrassing 3-0 defeat at the hands of Torino in a Serie A clash at the Stadio Olimpico Grande Torino on Sunday afternoon.
André-Frank Zambo Anguissa was the second African player not called up for the trip to Turin due to commitments with Cameroon's national team before the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations.
Meluso believes that things went wrong against Torino because Napoli were not at full strength.
Napoli have already strengthened their squad in the January transfer window, signing Pasquale Mazzocchi from Salernitana, but the fullback was sent off less than five minutes into his debut against Torino, leaving the Blues with a mountain to climb to get back into the game as they were a goal down.
Further strikes from Nikola Vlašić and Alessandro Buongiorno condemned Napoli to their seventh loss of the season in the Italian top-flight.
Speaking to DAZN post-match, via Calciomercato, Meluso explained: "We also had negative situations , injuries, the absence of Osimhen, but we don't want to make excuses and justifications ."
Meluso added : "We're very sorry, the team is unrecognizable and we were talking about making immediate corrections to stimulate the team and try to return to a normality that doesn't exist even for many injured players and players who went to the Africa Cup of Nations."
Osimhen has been criticized for reporting for Super Eagles duty early instead of staying back in Italy to help Napoli who are on a poor run of form - losing five of their last eight games in the Serie A.
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