Patrick Bamford may have agreed to join Partizan with that move set to be completed this weekend, but thats not stopped him bagging four goals in four games as Napoli beat Dnipro 1-0, to now stand alone in division 3 with a 100% start with 5 wins from 5. This see’s the fallen Italian giants top of the table.
Its been a summer of change, with experienced heads, Moutinho, Vidal and Matic joining to give midfield a solid look, however 2 of the 3 missed the win against Dnipro due to fitness, which is testament to how far Napoli have come. The last few seasons its been a steep decline, and Manager Mullan has had a mammoth task to try and halt the slide. However the future is already looking brighter this season, despite it only being early days.
“We expected a period of transition for the first half of the season, our starting line up has 9 different players than the line up that ended last season. We’ve looked to build on last season which was very much a season of steadying the ship. We wanted to be hard to beat, and those foundations were built on being solid at the back. By having one of the divisions tightest defences we finished the season in a credible 12th. This season our focus is on trying to score more goals. We only found the net 33 times in 38 games last season, but already in the 5 games this season we have hit 10 goals, nearly a third of last seasons total. Bamford has been a big part of that scoring 40% of them. We have some options once he moves on with Stindl, Woods, Negredo and Vinicious looking to fight it out to lead the line. I will be looking for a couple of these to step up to plate to produce goals consistently. Its important the midfield also chip in, Costa and Moutinho are both off the mark, and thats a good sign”
“Defence is a slight concern, Nastacic is out for 6 games, and i dont think we can afford injuries in defence as statistically rating wise its one of the lowest in the division. We have brought Doucoure in on a short term loan, but he is only here for a couple of games as his parent club wants to use him in the youth cup. Bayern agreeing to loan us Foyth for the season, then selling him, has caused us a few issues. Lots of our transfer business was geared around him being here, so I was quite annoyed when that happened. We would of possibly not sold a couple of players had we known that a deal struck can be changed once agreed with no punishment. We live and learn, but on the whole I’m really pleased where we currently are at. I dont think we are playing at anymore than at 60% potential, which sets us up for an exciting season as we improve with continuity of squad”