Giampaolo: “Europa League play-off? Let’s focus on playing our game”

Sampdoria v Torino might be being billed by some as a showdown for Serie A’s final Europa League place, but Marco Giampaolo is keen for his team simply to concentrate on continuing their stellar form when Walter Mazzarri brings his side to Marassi on Saturday evening.

“It’s going to be a tough match and we need to approach it like we do every game,” said Giampaolo, speaking in his pre-match press conference on Thursday. “Mazzarri hasn’t been in charge of Torino for long enough for us to know how he’ll set his stall out at the Ferraris, but my players have the knowledge they need to produce a good performance in the game.”

Giampaolo stressed that crunch time is still some way off in the race for European football next season.

“The decisive games will come further down the line, at the end of the season,” he said. “There’s no point talking about Europe if you don’t perform. We need to play well tomorrow – with heart and intensity. We want to be expansive and brave. The rest is just fluff.”

The Blucerchiati’s impressive form – seven points from three games – has given Giampaolo one or two decisions to make ahead of Saturday’s 18:00 CET kick-off.

“The squad is in good form,” he admitted. “I’m happy to have decisions to make over my starting eleven. I’ll try to make as many correct decisions as I can. I’m pleased that nobody left except for Puggioni, who was always a model professional throughout his time here. It was really important that we kept the squad together.”