Collecchio, 25 January 2020 – Coach Roberto D’Aversa spoke at the Collecchio Training Centre ahead of tomorrow’s clash with Udinese, a match which will kick off at 15:00 CET at the Stadio Ennio Tardini: “We’ve got everyone back, I’m talking about Kucka in particular who trained separately to the squad for the first few days of the week. Kulusevski was only apart for the first day. They’re both back fit and they’re both available for selection.

“The January transfer window creates some rather peculiar situations. As I said last week, last year’s format made it possible to resume the league later and as a result shorten the period of time where you’re playing matches and the transfer window is still open. Having said this, however, it’s something we’ve always had to deal with: we’re all professionals and we won’t allow ourselves to be influenced by these things, it’s important to be focused solely on tomorrow’s game which will be a tough one against Udinese, putting thoughts about transfers and contract renewals to one side. These are situations that are simply part of football and always will be. We need to focus solely on the game tomorrow afternoon.

“Udinese have found their shape under Coach Gotti. They’re a complete team, the numbers show that they’re second in balls recovered and they give you very little to work with when they’re defending. They make the most of their players’ qualities, with quick players who can hurt teams if the pitch opens up, just like Lasagna did in our first fixture this season, Fofana, De Paul, their two wide players are also quick. They’re a smart side and we have to be better technically when in possession, avoiding losing the ball and giving them a chance to break. This will be important: working on preventative marking and not allowing them to counter. We’ll need a quality performance because they all work hard and they’ll have all ten men behind the ball, they won’t give us room to work. We know that it will be a tough game from this point of view because we’ll be up against a very physical team. We’ll try to limit their merits and exploit their weaknesses where we can.

Kucka trained for a few days on his own, but this was just precaution on our part. Last week, he took part in three matches and is up to speed in terms of his training. Grassi has done some good work this week, he’s looked better during the past few days. As I said last week, we need to work on him gradually. He played against Lecce because it was a very important match, Kurtic’s arrival was also important given that we’re struggling for numbers at the moment.

“In terms of the market, I can only speak from a technical point of view. The Club has been well aware of what this team needs since 13 November. However, the lads were fantastic during the first half of the season despite all the absences. Nevertheless, the past must serve as experience: the fact that we’re seventh in the league shouldn’t make us think that we’ve already achieved our objective. After all, just four points separate seventh from 14th.

“I think that we already paid for the Inglese injury on Sunday evening during the game. However, we could have avoided conceding that goal despite being down to ten. In addition to having lost an important player for a long period of time, it’s disappointing on a human level because he was trying to overcome a negative period and, in addition to Cornelius, we were all working to get him back to the best possible condition. I hope that we’ll be able dedicate an important victory to him tomorrow: it’d be nice to put a smile on his face at this difficult moment.

“Over the past few days, I’ve heard a lot about budgets, but we need to be aware of the situation we find ourselves in: the budget that the Director has to work with in the market is linked to outgoings. We need to remain humble and think about tomorrow’s game, an important one as we look to achieve an objective that we’re yet to reach. Tomorrow’s match is important in the relegation battle, we can’t afford to think about anything else at this time. We need to try to avoid the same mistakes as we did last year and understand that the second half of the season could bring difficulties: the others are improving and we’re struggling with numbers following a number of injuries to important players like Gervinho, Inglese and Karamoh. When players of this calibre are missing, it takes away an important part of the attacking potential of a team like Parma. Let’s think about our objective, I don’t like deceiving anyone. I think it’s better to deal in reality and keep your feet on the ground because rumours are going around about signings such as Bonifazi which we’re not in a position to complete. We’re thinking about the path we’re on.

“As I said earlier, Cornelius is in good condition. Given that he’s our only available striker, we need to take care of certain aspects, including his workload during the week. But he’s feeling fine right now and I hope that he’ll produce a great performance. As regards Karamoh, he’s continuing on the path to recovery with our injury coach. I hope he’s back soon but I believe it’ll be 2-3 weeks before we see him back out on the pitch.”