Giampaolo expecting stern Fiorentina test

Sampdoria are back in Serie A action this Sunday, as they travel to the Artemio Franchi to take on Fiorentina. The match is their second following the post-Christmas break, with the Coppa Italia clash with Milan having served to get the Doria engine up and running, according to coach Marco Giampaolo.

“The Coppa was useful for our recovery, both from a physical and mental standpoint. It means we’re back into the swing of competitive football,” he said at the pre-match news conference.

“That goes for us as well as Fiorentina. We’ve had a shorter break than the rest of the teams. There’s a long way to go: 19 matches and 57 points to play for.”

The coach was asked about the significance of Sunday’s game in the push for a European place, to which he replied: “There’s Juventus, Napoli, the two Milan sides and the Rome sides. These are teams that can consider themselves superior. That leaves one place, for which Fiorentina, Atalanta, Torino, Sassuolo, Parma are also fighting.

“That makes Sunday’s match important, but we need to go into every game with that mind set. I’ve listed about a dozen teams, who will be fighting for all those small margins – Europe is a target everyone is aiming towards.

“I’m expecting to face a strong Fiorentina side, with good physicality and individual quality. However we’ve already faced strong sides this season.”

On the arrival of Manolo Gabbiadini this month, Giampaolo added: “He’s come in with real desire – he’s got good quality and will give us a boost up top. He won’t start the game tomorrow but will be a very useful player for us.

“Up front, as well as in midfield, we’ve got three playing and three on the bench. It’s a shame but that’s how it is. You don’t win games by changing your full-backs.”

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