Giampaolo sizes up Sassuolo: “They are dangerous, but I believe in my team”

Sampdoria are back in action on Monday evening at home to Sassuolo in a league campaign that is, according to Marco Giampaolo, as tight as it has ever been.

“You have to be competitive all the time in Serie A these days,” the Blucerchiati coach began in his pre-match press conference at Bogliasco. “You need to be ready both technically and above all mentally. Our league is so balanced, yesterday’s results show you that.

“The gap between the big and the so-called smaller clubs has reduced. In fact, I don’t believe there are big and small sides, but teams that play good football and teams that don’t.

“We’re coming up against a strong team in a tricky game. Sassuolo have many admirable qualities: they’re aggressive, good in possession and pose a danger. But I really believe in my team because of the spirit they show in training and games.”

Riccardo Saponara’s return to fitness provides a timely boost to Giampaolo, who admits he is now faced with selection headaches throughout the team.

“Riccardo is available, he’s been training hard and will be in the squad. I’ve got some difficult decisions to make. I have the impression that all the players who aren’t playing or are playing less are actually getting better every week. I’ve got options all over the pitch: up front, in midfield and at the back. Everyone’s in good form.”

The past week of international fixtures has seen Samp stars in action all over Europe.

“I’m always happy when my players are called up for international duty,” the gaffer insisted. “Pulling on your country’s shirt should be an ambition for them all. Whenever they come back from the international break, regardless of whether they’ve played or not, they’ve always gained a little bit in experience.”

Now, however, the focus is very much back on domestic football, as Doria host Sassuolo tomorrow evening, a side coached by a familiar adversary in Roberto De Zerbi.

“We’ve re-watched Samp v Palermo when De Zerbi was coach there, they played the same style of football as Sassuolo do now. The only difference is in the quality of the players.”

Giampaolo ended the conference by calling on his team to show “collective motivation” in order to overcome tomorrow evening’s obstacle and maintain their excellent form.