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Coppa Italia: Giampaolo keen to make home advantage count against AC Milan


Coppa Italia: Giampaolo keen to make home advantage count against AC Milan

It’s Coppa Italia time again for Sampdoria. Having seen off Viterbese Castrense and SPAL in the previous rounds, the Blucerchiati host AC Milan at the Stadio Ferraris in the last 16 on Saturday afternoon, with Marco Giampaolo urging Samp to make the most of home ground to advance to the quarter-finals.

“There are lots of positives going into this game,” the boss said at a press conference on the eve of the tie. “There’s a bit of an unknown factor as it’s the first game back after the break but the lads have trained well. It’s an opportunity for us because we’re playing at home and I hope we can progress to the next round.”

Giampaolo is well aware of the threat posed by Gennaro Gattuso’s side and insists they won’t be distracted by transfer rumours or next week’s Super Cup clash with Juventus.

“They’re a point ahead of us in the league so you could say they’re slight favourites. They’ll come here looking to take the game to us and they have some top-quality players. They’re a team that’s been put together to win so it’s going to be very tough but we have to make the most of home advantage.”

Asked about his team selection, Giampaolo was quick to dismiss the idea of rotation.

“I don’t want to downplay the value of the lads who play less than others. Everyone plays their part in helping us get where we want to be. I’ll pick the best team possible at the moment: Rafael Cabral in goal plus 10 others.”

With the transfer window now wide open, the coach was inevitably asked about possible comings and goings, with Manolo Gabbiadini’s signing imminent.

“I don’t think it’s possible to improve our team in January. We’re competitive in defence and midfield and we’ve shown no shortcomings in attack. It’s virtually impossible to bring in players who can make a huge difference to the team but Gabbiadini gives us an extra option, which increases competition and our overall quality.

“I don’t see him as a wide forward but an out-and-out striker. We’ll do everything we can to help him settle in quickly at a club he already knows very well.”

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