D’AVERSA AHEAD OF CAGLIARI vs. PARMA: “WE HAVE TO BE READY MENTALLY TO FACE A STRONG SIDE”

Parma, 31 January 2020 – Roberto D’Aversa today spoke to the media at Collecchio ahead of the 18:00 CET kick-off tomorrow against Cagliari.

Here was what he had to say:

Gervinho won’t be back in the squad because he hasn’t been at training for the last three days and clearly wanted to push the Club into being sold. Four days ago, he came to speak to me about the possibility of leaving and then he had to discuss things with the Club. At the moment, we know that the transfer window is open until tonight. I wanted to talk about Gervinho because he’s been an important player for us but I also think that I’ve had a team that allowed Gervinho to enjoy the best season of his career. It’s true that he has been a key player but the squad I have available to me is the most important thing.

“Away from recent matches, Cagliari were magnificent in the first half of the campaign, they’re one of the surprises of the season along with Verona. A drop-off in form can happen to anyone but we have to think about the performance Cagliari put in against Inter and about the fact that they’re a side with ambitions above staying up in their centenary year. They’ve signed some big players. Therefore, we need to turn up to the stadium mentally prepared and battle against a strong side.

“I believe that we have a few more injuries than them. When it comes to numbers, 15 players are our basis. I’ve called up Grassi but he wasn’t available until yesterday. He’s made himself available despite not having trained a lot this week after coming down with a virus. We’re struggling in terms of numbers. The Gervinho sale is a contributory factor, while we’ve lost an important player in Inglese. However, we know that these guys have always been capable of springing surprises. The Club knows where to act in the transfer market. With Gervinho leaving and Inglese injured, unexpected events have occurred which impacted our existing plans and they have to be replaced.

Siligardi has always trained. The situation has been always been a bit odd since the year in Serie B. As he wasn’t on the list, I never had him available but it’s very probable that he could start or play or be involved in some way, although anything could happen tonight in the market. Luca or Sprocati could start, we’ll see tomorrow. Physically, he’s always trained well and he knows what I want. I have a lot of trust in his attitude and performances but I don’t know what could happen.

Caprari has just arrived. He’s finished all the medicals so will be in the squad and travel but obviously I have to evaluate him due to the fact that he hasn’t trained with us. In attack, Cornelius had a training session, while Sprocati and Siligardi are also possible options. Andreas had a small problem and this meant he finished early, but I hope to have him available tomorrow.

“I don’t think that the last month overshadows all that the good work Cagliari have done in getting 31 points after an excellent first half of the season. They also lost players like Pavoletti to injury but found other solutions. They have squad depth and quality players. I want to compliment Maran because he’s a colleague who I don’t feel is spoken about much. That said, when people speak about us changing our objectives my ears prick up because credit should be given to the guys for what they’ve done already when we didn’t have two strikers in Inglese and Cornelius, we’ve had various injuries and the squad is a small one. The guys have been brilliant so far and they’ve gone above and beyond. This is the most important thing. I believe that I’m lucky because I have a truly formidable group of guys.

“They have strong midfielders in Nainggolan and Nandez. I expect it to be an intense match and we’ll have to show our own intensity and determination. That stadium is a fortress, as their results show. This was also the case last year. Mentally, we have to be ready for an intense match but still aware that they have quality players. Nainggolan is an important player, as his career shows. Even if he’s injured at the moment, Rog is a key player and Joao Pedro is having his best season. We’re up against an excellent side and we need to be ready to play at a high level if we want to get a result.”

“We’re focused on the pitch, obviously when training finishes you have other things on your mind but when we train or play, we’re only focused on what happens on the pitch.

Sepe? I hope that the recovery period is a lot less than what was stated. On a personal level, I’m very sorry as Sepe was a player I always wanted, I knew him from Lanciano and what he could do. He’s matured and could get an Italy call-up based on his performances this year. We’re losing an important figure but it happened with Scozzarella and others. I’m confident and calm because Colombi will play tomorrow and he’s shown himself to be an excellent goalkeeper.”