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Giampaolo: “Piece of Samp history on the line. We have everything to gain”


Giampaolo: “Piece of Samp history on the line. We have everything to gain”

Sampdoria might be sitting pretty in the league table, nine points clear of city rivals Genoa, but Marco Giampaolo insists his team will be doing everything within their power to win the Derby della Lanterna on Saturday.

Rather than settle for a draw, the boss has his eye on securing a result that would write the current Samp crop into the history books.

“Samp haven’t won two derbies in Serie A in the same season since 1959/60 – I wasn’t even born then! If we win tomorrow, it will be a historic achievement,” Giampaolo told the journalists gathered in Bogliasco for his pre-match media conference on Friday.

“We must be hungry for victory because we have the chance to write a small piece of Sampdoria’s glorious history.

“We have everything to gain and nothing to defend. We can give the fans something to brag about and improve our league position in one fell swoop. We must go out there and play our game without trying to defend a result.”

The Blucerchiati approach Saturday’s encounter on the back of a six-match unbeaten run, but the boss says he’s not just pleased with the results his squad have obtained.

“We go into the game in good shape regardless of our recent results. We’ve been training calmly and well in recent weeks. We’ve in the right frame of mind and really up for this match, which means so much to every connected with the club.”

Results-wise, it was a very different scenario going into the reverse fixture back in November.

“I was calm then too, even though we’d only picked up two points in six games. We were training well then and we are now.

“The difference is that we have a huge opportunity now and a lot to gain. At the time I said the stakes were high and they’re high now as well. Sampdoria is more important than any of us and we have a chance to make history. It would be another fine chapter to add to this season.”

What sort of battle plan does the boss have in mind to make it happen?

“We’ll stick to our usual playing philosophy. We have to go out there and play football because that’s what we do best. We’ve prepared well for the game but you always need that bit extra once you get out there.

“Genoa have changed a lot since the last time we played them: not only do they have a different coach but they’ll also be playing with lots of different players. They’ll be harder for us to gauge than when we played them a few months ago.

“I expect them to be careful and aggressive, but it’s not the team that kicks hardest that wins the game but the one that plays the best football. You don’t set out to make war.”

With a full squad to work with and an empty treatment room – a rare luxury for a coach – Giampaolo’s task of picking the best team is that much harder, but he was keen to underline the importance of players coming off the bench too.

“Barreto has recovered so I have everyone available – an embarrassment of riches to choose from.

“I still have to make up my mind on the starting line-up. I have a slight doubt and I won’t settle it in training this time but by sleeping on it. It’s not about my players as such but how the match might pan out.

“When a substitute sees coming on as an opportunity to play, it’s a big advantage. If the player coming on wanted to play from the start, he doesn’t have the same impact. When all three of your subs come on and make an impact, that can make a difference.”

The fixture list says Samp are playing away but Giampaolo believes the ever-passionate Gradinata Sud could drown out the more numerous ‘home’ fans.

“I was asking this morning about what percentage of fans will be there for which team. We’ll have 10,000 Blucerchiati really getting behind us, so I’m not sure if we’ll actually be playing away.”

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