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Di Francesco demands full focus against Verona


Di Francesco demands full focus against Verona

Sampdoria must head to Verona determined to improve on the areas where they have come up short but without obsessing about needing to win at all costs. That was Eusebio Di Francesco’s message as he addressed the media on the eve of Doria’s visit to Hellas.

“We mustn’t see this as a do-or-die match,” the coach stressed.

“What we do need to do is make sure we’re alert and stay in the game at all times. We’ve worked on all aspects but especially the way we play. Putting too much pressure on the players would be a mistake. However, we must get our approach right, be focused and careful.”

Di Francesco praised Ivan Juric’s side for their early-season performances after returning to the top flight this summer.

“Verona have made an excellent start to the season. They haven’t scored an awful lot but they’ve been very good defensively. They’ve never been pushed around either, not even by the big teams.

“We might have a touch more technical ability than them but they’re a dogged, physical side who will be tough to play against.”

The boss also provided some team news ahead of the trip to the Stadio Bentegodi.

“[Gonzalo] Maroni won’t be coming with us for this one. He’s completing his rehabilitation and the international break will help him to recover. We have [Manolo] Gabbiadini back but [Morten] Thorsby and [Karol] Linetty are out injured.”

Finally, Di Francesco offered some insight into exactly what Samp need to put right after a difficult start to the campaign.

“Playing three or four at the back doesn’t change much: you mustn’t lose the duels and you mustn’t be afraid. You need to be aggressive otherwise the whole chain breaks down. You have to roll up your sleeves and try your best.

“The lads need guidance and we need to improve in certain areas. The natural leaders we have – besides setting an example with their work rate – need to help the others by speaking to them and encouraging them. That’s the way forward.”

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