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Ranieri previews Udinese: “Tough opposition, we’ll need a hard-work ethic”

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Ranieri previews Udinese: “Tough opposition, we’ll need a hard-work ethic”

Claudio Ranieri has warned his Sampdoria team to expect a tough test when Udinese visit the Stadio Luigi Ferraris for the resumption of Serie A hostilities on Sunday.

The match is the first in a packed cycle of games which will see the Blucerchiati take on Sunday’s visitors Udinese, Cagliari twice in the spaces of four days (Serie A and Coppa Italia), Parma, Genoa and Juventus.

“We know that every game is important,” said Ranieri in his pre-match press conference on Friday. “Every game can be a turning point for us so we need to focus on our next opponents, who are a tough side to play against.”

Ranieri called for his side to build on their encouraging run of results before the international break: a three-match unbeaten streak which saw Samp take a point off high-flying Atalanta last time out.

“We’re in a positive spell – we did some good things against Atalanta and we need to build on those,” he said. “Confidence helps in training during the week, but I have to say that this group is absolutely extraordinary. We’ll have to see on Sunday whether the international break has done us good, but I can certainly say that this team is not in a bad place. We’re in good shape and we’re improving. We need to make sure we always show our desire to fight and work hard.”

Ranieri will be coming up against Luca Gotti in the Udinese dugout – the man promoted from assistant coach after the departure of Igor Tudor.

“Gotti’s experience is only relevant up to a point,” said Ranieri. “What counts is the results he’s achieved and they show that Udinese have changed their course. It shows that he used his time as a number two to study well. Udinese are in good form, they keep it tight at the back and play a quick, direct counter-attacking game. We’ll need to make sure we compete in terms of both quality and physicality and that we try to play our own game.”

Sampdoria v Udinese kicks off at 18:00 CET on Sunday evening.

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