Callejon credits 'Maradona effect' as Napoli down AC Milan
Jose Callejon credited Diego Maradona for inspiring Napoli to a valuable 2-1 Serie A victory over AC Milan at San Siro.
The Partenopei and Argentina great visited the club's training base in Castel Volturno this week to meet the players and head coach Maurizio Sarri ahead of a run of key matches, with a Coppa Italia quarter-final against Fiorentina and a Champions League last-16 meeting with Real Madrid to come in the next month.
Maradona's influence certainly seemed to have helped as Lorenzo Insigne and Callejon struck inside the opening nine minutes of Saturday's game, with Napoli ultimately holding out for all three points despite Juraj Kucka halving the deficit.
And the 29-year-old paid tribute to the former star's impact following what he believed was a performance that proved Napoli's potential to challenge for the Scudetto.
"We deserved it. It's always difficult to play at San Siro but we showed we are a great team," he told Mediaset Premium. "Yes, there was a little of the 'Maradona effect'!
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"Milan are a great side, we were superb for the first 30 minutes but then they came back at us.
"We always want to improve, and coming here to win is proof of that.
"We are trying to stay there [at the top] and to keep playing for it. We're working well, with the right mentality. We want to keep going."
Milan CEO Adriano Galliani felt the match was a superb advert for Serie A, despite admitting that he had feared the very worst when Napoli raced into a 2-0 lead.
"I am sad at the defeat, but it was a wonderful match," he told Milan TV. "The fans had fun; there weren't many jeers at the final whistle because they saw we gave our all against a great opponent.
"We had chances but you have to accept the defeat if you don't take them. I went into the Napoli dressing room to compliment Maurizio Sarri, because he makes his team play really good football, just as Vincenzo Montella does.
"We were fighting back again and I think the gap from us to the top teams has really whittled down now. If you'd have interviewed me after 10 minutes, I'd have thought it a nuclear disaster... You never know what will happen."