The Italian coach believes the attacker has struggled physically in Serie A but is close to turning a corner
Napoli manager Gennaro Gattuso declared he’s not giving Hirving Lozano “any leeway” as he looks to get the most out of the Mexican star.
Lozano found himself out of favour under Gattuso last term following a big-money move from PSV and managed just five goals across all competitions.
“I am not giving Lozano any leeway, so he is a different player now,” Gattuso told Sky Sport Italia. “When he arrived, he was not at 100 per cent mentally or physically. He would kick the ball and fall over like a child, now he has strength in his legs.
“I knew Lozano from his days at PSV, he always attacked down the wing, but last season he wasn’t at his best at all. He’s playing now because he’s in good shape.
“The whole team hit rock bottom last year and we still need to be consistent over 90 minutes.”
Prior to joining Napoli in 2019, Lozano had scored 21 goals and contributed 12 assists for PSV across the 2018-19 season as he turned heads across Europe.
While struggling in Naples last term, Gattuso was already seeing signs in pre-season that the Mexican attacker was ready for a much better second season with the club.
“It is very good if he expresses himself to the fullest. He finally understands that he is at Napoli,” Gattuso said in September.
“The first days he thought he was still in Eindhoven, then in Mexico and now in Naples. He’s reacting.”
Despite Napoli’s big win on Sunday and Lozano’s strong performance, Gattuso wasn’t getting ahead of himself.
“This result is very harsh and does not reflect the game,” Gattuso said post-match. “If Piotr Zielinski hadn’t scored 30 seconds after the restart, it would’ve been a very different match.
“We have to focus on improving and finding the right balance, because we need balance in order to play this type of football.”