Napoli returned to Serie A action with a 2-0 victory over high-flying Hellas Verona at the Stadio Bentegodi on Tuesday.
A first half header from Arkadiusz Milik was followed up Hirving Lozano’s goal in stoppage time, as the Partenopei closed the gap on fifth-placed Roma in the standing.
It came less than a week after Napoli lifted the Coppa Italia, as their strong form in 2020 under coach Gennaro Gattuso continued.
Gattuso revolution is burgeoning
Former AC Milan midfielder Gattuso hardly set pulses racing at the Stadio San Paolo when he was announced as the successor to the popular Carlo Ancelotti in December, but the 42-year-old has set about proving the doubters wrong.
Guiding Napoli to silverware for the first time since 2014 last week, the grizzled coach has turned his side into a well-oiled machine that are becoming increasingly hard to break down.
Indeed, the Partenopei have tasted defeat just once in their past 12 games in all competitions, in a run that has included clashes against Juventus, Inter, Lazio and Barcelona.
Meanwhile, the Azzurri are proving effective on the road, with the win over Verona their fifth in six games under Gattuso.
Milik makes case for what Napoli may miss
After a slow start to the match at the Bentegodi, Napoli found a breakthrough courtesy of towering striker Milik, and the Pole displayed his qualities amidst speculation his future lies away from Naples.
The 26-year-old has endured a difficult spell in Serie A since arriving from Ajax in 2016, with two serious knee injuries disrupting his first two seasons at Napoli.
However, when fit and firing Milik is a force to be reckoned with, as his 27 goals in his past 52 Serie A appearances attest to.
With Verona defending well in open play and frustrating the visitors, it took the aerial presence of Milik to break the deadlock, and Gattuso may be wise to think again before sanctioning the sale of the in-demand forward.
Attracting interest from the likes of Juventus and Tottenham Hotspur, Milik will be out of contract next summer and would surely continue to be an important asset as Napoli challenge for a return to the Champions League next season.