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Napoli boss Garcia banks on Osimhen to score against Braga


NAPOLI manager Rudi Garcia is confident Victor Osimhen will be back scoring tonight when the Italian champions face Sporting Braga in a UEFA Champions League group stage clash in Portugal.

The Super Eagles striker has already scored three goals in Serie A this season but drew blanks in Napoli’s last two games — a home defeat to Lazio and a draw at newly promoted Genoa.

Garcia, who replaced Luciano Spalletti after the Italian coach led Napoli to their first Scudetto in 33 years last season, believes Osimhen is due a goal tonight, while also backing Kvicha Kvaratskhelia to recover from a poor start to the campaign.

Nigeria international Osimhen was Serie A top scorer last season with 26 goals as Napoli won the title while Kvaratskhelia was voted the league’s Most Valuable Player.

“The whole squad is important, but you do not only win games with the starting XI,” Garcia as he previewed tonight’s fixture.

“Osimhen started well with three goals in two games and we hope he can get back on target against Braga. Kvara’s progress was stalled by an injury during pre-season, he missed the first game and then played only the second half of the next.

“I talked to him because I want him to be calm, he must be decisive. He hasn’t scored for a while, but he shouldn’t think about that, he needs to enjoy his football. It’d be already very positive if he provided an assist like the one against Sassuolo.

“This is the Champions League, everyone dreams of this tournament and these nights are made for players like Kvicha.”

Garcia also admitted that Napoli ‘need to be more consistent’ and work to ‘keep clean sheets’.

“We are only fifth, we could’ve done better, but it is just the start of the season,” the Frenchman noted, speaking about the shaky start to the season.

“We need to be more consistent, even during the same match, but the Champions League is a different tournament entirely. It is only six games and we are here to win with ambition, determination and confidence.

“The important thing is to be more efficient in front of goal and also able to finish matches with a clean sheet. In four games we have conceded five goals, but analysing the statistics we only allowed eight shots on target.

“That means we are not defending that badly and are not caught out of position. We conceded two penalties, two set plays against Genoa, two counter-attacks with Lazio.

“If we can keep a few clean sheets, then it will be easier for us to win games. Braga have quality, we know some of their players well, including Fonte, Moutinho, Bruma and Ruiz. We must show determination from the first minute and start the Champions League on the right foot.”

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