Giampaolo looks to ease pressure on Samp ahead of Fiorentina test

The Blucerchiati will be back in action on Sunday having had a week to relax and recover mentally and physically. Speaking ahead of the team’s return to league action against Fiorentina, Marco Giampaolo said it is difficult to assess the shape of his players after a break of this kind.

“It’s hard to say how the team are. This was an unusual break and we’ve had seven days to weigh up the players. Who will play? Those I saw to be in the best shape, regardless of who they are,” he said.

“Sampdoria can’t be weighed down – they should be more carefee. It’s our desire to play football that has always set us apart. We should be fearless – we aren’t duty-bound to do anything, the teams behind us are stronger.

“Being that high up the table weighed heavily on us. If we play with less pressure on ourselves, we could be the real surprise of this campaign.”

Doria are certainly familiar with Sunday’s opponents, having already played Stefano Pioli’s side twice this season. Samp won at the Stadio Artemio Franchi earlier in the campaign but were knocked out of the Coppa Italia by the Viola in December.

“We’re up against a team in form,” Giampaolo underlined. “They’re coming into this off the back of eight games without defeat. They’ve shown they can hold their own against the big sides too.”