Super Eagles-eligible defender reveals the secret behind Serie A’s best defence
The Goddesses have been near-perfect in defence and efficient in attack to sit joint-top of the Italian Serie A table
Atalanta centre-back Caleb Okoli has identified humility and hard work as the secret behind the Goddesses’ excellent displays in defence.
Gian Piero Gasperini’s men have the best defensive record in the Italian Serie A, conceding only three goals in eight games.
Only AC Milan, Torino, and Cremonese have breached Atalanta’s defence, with the Goddesses shutting out five other teams.
Okoli has appeared in seven of those matches, and the 21-year-old defender was again one of Atalanta’s better performers as they ground out a 1-0 win over Fiorentina on Sunday.
Nigeria international Ademola Lookman scored the winner in the 59th minute of that encounter at the Gewiss Stadium.
Okoli is pleased with the defensive output of the Serie A high-fliers, and the youngster has identified humility and hard work as the secret behind the positive results.
“It is a great emotion and we are very focused on doing the best from game to game,” Okoli told DAZN, as per Tutto Atalanta.
“The secret? The coach humbly makes us work with sacrifice every day. We started well in this initial phase of the championship; especially at the defensive level we are showing great personality.
“I’m happy with the victory against Fiorentina; I dedicate this success to my family.”
Okoli, for Italy or Nigeria?
Last year while on loan in Serie B, Okoli was the defensive pillar on which Cremonese built their successful Serie A promotion campaign.
And now, in his first season in Serie A, the young centre-back is showing the quality needed to mix it with the big boys.
Okoli’s brilliance will not go unnoticed for much longer.
Born in Italy to Nigerian parents, the defender could soon be the centre of attention for the Azzurri and the Super Eagles.
He has, however, featured for Italy at the U19, U20, and U21 levels.