Giampaolo keen to mark Sampdoria birthday with cup victory

Marco Giampaolo says the team are ready for their 2018/19 season-opener – and determined to win it so they can celebrate the club’s anniversary in style.

The Blucerchiati host Viterbese Castrense in the third round of the Coppa Italia on Sunday night, exactly 72 years after Sampdoria was founded.

“It’s a big occasion and we hope to celebrate it with our fans,” the boss told Samp TV on the eve of the game. “They’ve been fantastic in pre-season, both at our training camp and in England.

“I think the lads are ready. It will be the first time for lots of them but fortunately the core we’ve had here for the last two years have helped them settle in.”

The fixture may look like an uneven match on paper but Giampaolo warned not to underestimate the Serie C outfit, especially after they beat Ascoli 4-0 in the previous round.

“Let’s not forget that Viterbese come through two rounds to get here, playing both away. They have fast, pacy, agile players and they looked a lot fitter than Ascoli – I think that’s why they won.

“Clearly, the two teams aren’t on the same level but we have to show that on the pitch. Our attitude must be at least as good as theirs: only then can you bring those differences to the fore.”