Parma, 18 January 2019 – After Parma finished their preparations for tomorrow’s Serie A Tim 2018/19 match against Udinese at the Dacia Arena, Coach Roberto D’Aversa spoke to journalists at the Collecchio Training Centre. Here’s what he had to say:

“The team is coming into this game after a good break following the match against Roma. We’ve worked well during these two weeks, both in our daily sessions and during the friendly against Ravenna. We’re aware of the fact that we need to start the second half of the season with the same ruthlessness and intensity we showed during the first half. I’ll make the necessary evaluations for tomorrow’s line-up. Kucka won’t start because he wasn’t able to train for 10 days due to a blow to his foot. This prevented him from training consistently, and it’ll take some time for him to get back to his peak condition. Rigoni has not been called up because he’s still carrying a knock from training last week.”

“Deiola? As regards the end of the transfer market, the right decision was made when they decided that it would close this evening. Then a decision was made to extend it in the knowledge that games would be played during this period and that there could be problems. But we’re all professionals. As regards Deiola, there were rumours he could leave some time ago, maybe even before the match against Fiorentina. However, he started that game and was one of the best players on the pitch. What I have to do is assess what happens on the pitch and then make the necessary choices to try to win matches. I can’t let myself be influenced by transfer rumours. As long as you belong to this club, you should work hard to do well here.”

“I spoke with Baraye this morning and I still have to decide whether I’ll put him on the bench or not. However, I think that he deserves this opportunity. He’s happy because he’s been part of the club’s rise, he was here before me and has triumphed in three leagues. Ciciretti is on his way out and as the mature person that he is, he asked not come on this away trip. I appreciate his honesty and everyone has their own way of doing things.”

Ever since Nicola has been there – and he’s someone I admire – they’ve picked up nine points in seven games. Looking at the table, he has managed to give the side more of a balance, with Udinese having won against Roma and Cagliari and drawn three times. It will be a difficult match in which they’ll probably use a 5-3-2 formation. I followed Nicola’s progress while he was at Crotone, a time when he varied their style of play. In the first half of the season, Crotone tried to play more attractive football, while the next 19 games saw a more pragmatic style used, leading to their miraculous survival. A lot of good things have been done since he’s gone in, and we therefore have to be aware of the fact that we’ll be facing a team with excellent qualities.

“They’ve been busy in the transfer window, signing a player like Okaka who is very good physically and dangerous on crosses. However, he’s also good at attacking spaces, and he’s powerful and fast like Lasagna. Should De Paul play in midfield in a 5-3-2 then he’s a player that can switch play well and is strong technically. They are a very physical side with players who are also technically gifted. We’ve analysed both their qualities and flaws. It’s important how we interpret this match, playing with determination and ruthlessness in every situation, whether that be a tackle or a pass. We’ll need to give our all.”

“The tranfer market? The Director knows what needs to be done, we’ve got to think about tomorrow’s match. Doubts for tomorrow? There are many: Scozzarella is coming back from an injury, and I have to assess things given that he’s only been training with the rest of the team since Wednesday. I’ve got a number of options to choose from up front. I will make my choices at the last moment and also take today’s training session into account. I will also consider dead ball situations because I think they could be important tomorrow. The way they’re all training, I think they all deserve to play. Is there room for improvement? I believe that in life you should never be fully satisfied and should always look to improve.

“The long break is something which has been taken from Serie B. It’s the first time this has happened in the top flight, but it was the same for us last year given that we were a Serie B side. There is some uncertainty as regards how you recover mentally, but this is a problem that every team has. I was extremely happy with the match against Ravenna beause it’s very rare that you see a team approach the match against a side two leagues below them in the way we did. But now we’re set to face a different opponent away from home. In the second half of the season, there is no time to put things right. Points have a different value.”

Dimaro and Sierralta? Federico completed 70 minutes against Ravenna and did well, so we can say that he’s recovered from his injury. As regards Francesco, we didn’t play him due to a small problem he had as a result of not playing for a long time. A bit of time is needed before we see them at 100%. The racism problem? We need to do the best we can in our current roles. We want matches to be sporting events, and this problem needs to be addressed in schools – it’s not just a question of combatting it in stadiums. If we want to bring about change, football can provide the opportunity to do something important.