Giampaolo sets sights on tenth place: “It’s within our grasp”

Marco Giampaolo has been commenting on today’s draw with Udinese, which was played with a fervour and an electricity not typical of a match to decide tenth place in the league.

“It’s good that it was a tense game, even though it was only tenth place up for grabs,” the Blucerchiati coach began. “It means the culture has changed, it means that we play games right until the end regardless of whatever target you’re aiming for.”

The incident that led to Luis Muriel’s sending-off was also a big talking point.

“He might have deserved a yellow card, but I think the referee saw something when he was being chased by Danilo, who grabbed him by the neck. It was a tough, difficult game. Both sides used up their last drops of energy from the season and my lads worked really hard.

“Finishing in the top half of the table is within our grasp,” Giampaolo continued. “It’s an important objective for me, because the team has given a lot this season. Looking at where we began – a lot of new players, a lot of youngsters – we’ve exceeded expectations.

“I think Dennis Praet is a top player. I view him as a central midfielder, but it’s fair that he got a chance to show his quality in the position he had before he came to Italy.

“We should do all our analysis,” the manager concluded, “to make decisions ahead of next season with the fewest possible doubts. This applies to a lot of the players, Djuricic included, which is why he was used from the start. It’s been a while since we won, yes, but you sometimes get these cycles in Serie A. Let’s take Sassuolo as an example: they’re in a great run of form now but they went whole months without winning games.”