Parma, 24 September 2019 – On the eve of the match against Sassuolo, which will kick off at 21:00 CEST at the Tardini, Coach Roberto D’Aversa spoke to the press at the Collecchio Training Centre. This is what he had to say:

“As was the case for the Roma game, Scozzarella is in the squad. Neither Alberto nor Kucka will be involved in tomorrow’s match. With the numbers available, it’s difficult to make changes in midfield, but when you have games in close succession you try to send the best team possible out onto the pitch. There’s a need to wait until the last minute to see how well players have recovered and then decide on the starting eleven.

We should all feel like we need to make amends, especially after our second-half performance in Rome. Losing against Lazio can happen but this shouldn’t occur after a passive performance, which is what happened in the second half. The players are the first to be disappointed, while I haven’t slept for two nights because there wasn’t any sign in training that something like that would happen in the second half. Now, we need to recuperate. Tomorrow, we’ll be coming up against a well-prepared side with a good coach and quality players. In order to get a result, determination and ruthlessness will be required at the back, while we’ll need to be calm and composed in our build-up play.

“The expectations placed on two players like Inglese and Gervinho are high, last year they stood out as we achieved our objective. However, the whole team made a contribution behind them and I like to talk about the collective. If they don’t reach their usual performance levels, they are put under the spotlight. But in the second half there was a general problem and seven or eight players could have been replaced. I need to take responsibility in that I wasn’t able to convince the players to take to the pitch with more conviction than the first half when we talked during the break. These two need to take to the pitch with the idea that they don’t need to prove anything in mind. This is because it’s likely that your performances will suffer if you feel like you need to do this after being labelled as important signings. I’m really happy to have two players like them in the squad, they made a big contribution to us achieving survival last year and I’m sure they’ll help us reach our objective this year too.

The one thing I’ve kept on saying right from the start of our preparations is that this season will be more difficult than last year, because last year there were players with no Serie A experience or players that had suffered relegation from this league, or players that had come in from other leagues and wanted to demonstrate that they were still strong footballers. It’s normal for the second season to be more difficult than the first, the other sides have strengthened. We can’t think that we’ll reach our objective because we’ve got Inglese or Grassi in the side, or because Kucka or Gervinho have remained with us. We know what we did last year and are aware of the fact that the other teams have improved just as we have.

“Sprocati is a player with excellent qualities both from a physical and technical point of view. He’s two-footed and that makes him versatile in attack. With the way he’s been training, he deserves to play from the start, but you need to take characteristics into account. There are players like Mattia who can make an impact on games when they come on in the last 20-30 minutes.

The fans have been fantastic both home and away, they’ve really spurred us on at the Tardini and have travelled in great numbers when we’ve been on the road. I’m expecting them to give us a hand, as they’ve always done. But it’s up to us to spur them on too. We need to give everything to avoid having any regrets. If the opposition are better than us we’ll hold up our hands, we can be frustrated at a result but never at the effort we’ve put in.