Here’s what the coach made of today’s impressive victory over Torino.
“If I had to find a fault with what we did today it would be that we didn’t finish off all the chances we created. But the team played well against a team that were a threat going forward but left space in behind. We were therefore very successful in using the qualities possessed by players such as Gervinho and Biabiany in the opening 30 minutes. Inglese’s goal arrived from an excellent move which started from deep. The only disappointment is that we allowed them to come into the game again with a goal that came from a throw-in after all the chances we created. But we’ll go back to Parma satisfied because we’ve won at a stadium where it’s not easy to win. We’ve also won at a time when Torino are in the best condition they could be both physically and mentally.
“When players begin to come back you have the opportunity to bring others back into the fold. It’s important for our team to have a player that is able to play it forward quickly, and Scozzarella’s quality allows us to move up the pitch.Bastoni is a player who I would have liked to play earlier but he was unfortunately injured. He has been working hard in training and he will put in some great performances despite only being 19. Biabany showed that he is feeling good, while Inglese and Grassi returning allowed us to make that next step forward in terms of our quality.Coaches don’t just come up with ideas out of nowhere: they monitor training sessions and choose the best players for the job also based on the opponent.
“The best performance so far this season? There have also been other games where we’ve done well, and I’m thinking of Genoa or Juventus when I say this. It’s often the case that assessments are made based on the result. We won and did well today, but we have to always be level-headed when we analyse games, irrespective of the result. Our objective? We’re ten points ahead of the final relegation spot. I’m pleased for the President and the owners, and I would like to dedicate this result to them. I would also like to dedicate it to the fans who were in the stadium today and also to those who couldn’t come.
“When you get a good result you know you’ve put the right team on the pitch and made the right changes. Sometimes you don’t get the result you want, meaning the opposite is true. When we have to secure a result we have suitable substitutes with the right characteristics, but it’s not easy to come on. Ceravolo, Deiola and Gazzola came on today and did well. When you make changes to try and make a difference in terms of the scoreline, it’s more difficult. Players need to know that working hard pays off and if they’re in the team it’s because they’ve earned it as a result of doing well during the week.
“What is being created at Parma? The question should be directed towards the club, this path had already been taken even before I arrived. We have been good at doing what no one has ever done, and we are looking for the icing on the cake by staying up.We work hard day in day out. We’re fortunate that those who come here – and not just those who have been at Parma for a long time – feel a sense of belonging, something which is transmitted by the club and people like Lucarelli. The club has been excellent in terms of bring great people in, not just great footballers, and this is the most important thing to achieve any objective. We can’t rest on our laurels as the road ahead is still long. We have to continue to work.”
Here are new President Pietro Pizzarotti's first words in his new role:
President? Mr Pizzarotti? How should we call you?
“Pietro, Pietro…don’t joke about that!”
Everyone here has called you ‘Pres’ here for a while…
“It’s true but I’m not the only one,” he laughed. “At times, we’ve laughed about it as shareholders. When the players came out of the dressing room to train and we were there to greet them, they’d all go to us and say “Ciao Pres”, “Ciao Pres”, “Ciao Pres”…”
Now you are the President though. Do you feel a greater sense of excitement or responsibility?
“Both, it’s a role that gives me a great sense of excitement but at the same time I feel a weight of responsibility. The weight is certainly lessened however as I know i’m surrounded by people who will help me a lot during this experience. It’s a very, very important role and I can say without a shadow of a doubt that I will completely dedicate myself to it.”
You could say with your nomination that the link between the city and club is even stronger. What are the foundations of this Parma?
“This element for Parma has been there since the start of the rebirth. I think of the Nuovo Inizio shareholders but also Parma Partecipazioni Calcistiche. A modern club must certainly learn from its past while it must always look ahead and build for the future. A lot of attention must be paid to the financial side because this Parma must never spend beyond its means while never forgetting what is required to achieve objectives. For us, staying up is worth as much as a Scudetto, the finishing touch on the rise from Serie D and A.”
Will the administration continue to prefer action to words?
“We’ve always been alongside the team, the club and the city. Parma has never been alone. We never made grand proclamations, we worked without saying much. We showed that Parma was in our hearts with action, much more than with words. That’s how we like it.”
You have previously said on multiple occasions that you are not a group of sports entrepreneurs. Does this mean you are looking for a shareholder who can take on a majority stake?
“To love football and live it doesn’t automatically mean that you become a sports entrepreneur. Our passion has always been strong, with Marco [Ferrari] and Giacomo [Malmesi] and we followed the team in the 1990s, often for away games as well. To be sports entrepreneurs means that you know this world perfectly. In the past three years, we’ve developed a lot together and shared a lot but our lives have been built in different ways compared to an entrepreneur for whom football is their core business. We love our city and Parma Calcio and what we do is driven by this. My father wouldn’t want this known but after Spezia vs. Parma, I heard from him on the phone and he was really moved. Also, we were at my son’s baptism once which was during Parma vs. Carpi and we moved into a corner of the cathedral to nervously follow the updates. To see Giacomo [Malmesi] almost every day watching training and all the time spent on the phone speaking to Guido Barilla, Angelo Gandolfi, Giampaolo Dallara, Mauro Del Rio about Parma…
We do know our limits however. After contributing to the rebirth of the team and guaranteeing a future for it, we’ll continue to offer security with a clear objective with a sense of seriousness and calm. In the next months, we’ll start to look for a specialised entrepreneur who can continue to make this club grow. In order to avoid situations that are not credible or that are a waste of time, we’ll nominate a specialised advisor of the top international standing who will lead us through this search. We’re in no rush and we’ll wait to identify the optimum profile. This is the road that we’ve agreed to follow at this time.”
The Nuovo Inizio model with seven shareholders has often been viewed with a sense of curiosity from outside. How has it worked so far?
“Believe me when I saw that we’re a group of friends first. This Parma can truly be considered to be a family. It’s a group where everyone has a clear role without any envy. In Nuovo Inizio, we share everything but there are people behind the scenes who work every day so that we can face every obstacle. One of the factors that allowed us to climb back are the human and professional qualities of those who work here. For example, on Saturday before Parma vs. Frosinone a technical issue at 19:00 CET meant the Training Ground at Collecchio was left completely without power. Only 15 minutes later, the players arrived for their pre-match routine while dinner was set for 19:45 and everything was nearly ready. In just a few minutes, our Team Manager Alessio Cracolici managed to find accommodation in a hotel in the city while the restaurant staff ran to make sure the menu set by the nutritionist was ready in the new hotel. To change the hotel routine in 30 minutes seems almost impossible but everyone was committed to it. From Stefano Perrone to the physiotherapists and other collaborators, giving 200 per cent. To be able to overcome difficult situation through commitment and hard work is not for everyone.
In this group, there is also a Sporting Director and Coach who played a big role in the return to Serie A since arriving in December 2016
“Daniele [Faggiano] and the Coach impressed us right away. They’ve always known how to deal with difficult moments and played an important role in helping Parma to get over them. In these years, we’ve seen the work they’ve done every day with our own eyes and the group that they’ve built. Everyone with their own ideas and abilities has worked in the service of Parma. The result is there for all to see. Also allow me to not forget the excellent work of Luca Piazzi with the Academy and everyone who works at the club, from the first to the last.”
What would you like to say as the President to the fans?
“That they should be proud but not of us. They should be proud of themselves and what has been done thanks to the link between the team and city. Parma isn’t an easy place to please as it’s used to a certain standard of football but this shouldn’t cause deception. Jut look at the last years: 10,000 season tickets in Serie D, 9,500 in Lega Pro, 9,500 in Serie B and 13,000 in Serie A. We went on a journey after the bankruptcy, we were reborn from the ashes and we probably wouldn’t be here without Marco Ferrari. I say that in the knowledge that it will annoy him because he doesn’t like being in the spotlight but he has been fundamental for all of us. Now, we’re in Serie A and will fight to stay. People say that money is the fuel for a football team. I believe however that there’s a lot more to it and the support from our fans can be decisive. When I think of the Parma family, I’m referring to them. We’ve always stuck together as one in the good and the bad and I hope that this won’t be forgotten.”
Three promotions have sent the team to its current place in Serie A, where do you think Parma can go?
“The Torino match tomorrow is the first though. Tomorrow, we have an important game against a team that is aiming for the Europa League and I’m sure we’ll give our all. The aim is clear, to stay up by fighting tooth and nail. Until we’ve claimed enough points, we can never drop our guard. This long journey has shown us how we can never lose our humility and fighting spirit which will be necessary for us to reach our goal.
On the subject of journeys, a remember a train journey this summer as though it was yesterday. We were on the train coming back from Rome after the appeal for the issue with the WhatsApp messages. I was with Giacomo Malmesi, Luca Carra, the Lawyer Belli, Paolo Piva and Emanuele Calaiò. We heard the news and all embraced one another in the middle of the carriage while on the phone we spoke to Marco Ferrari, the other shareholders, the Sporting Director and Coach. I often think back to that moment. In any situation, there are obstacles and difficulties but together, nothing is impossible. We’re thinking of the present, ready to fight in every sporting battle and after every setback we need to get back up, ready to embrace one another.”
Torino – Parma
Stadio Olimpico Grande Torino
Saturday 10th November
Referee: Davide Massa
Parma travel to Turin to open this weekend’s round of Serie A action as they face off against Walter Mazzarri’s in form Torino.
The Ducali, have failed to win any of their last three fixtures, tasting defeat twice and disappointingly seeing out a goalless draw at home to Frosinone last time out. More worryingly for Parma they have failed to score in over 300 minutes of football now.
Roberto D’Aversa will be desperate for Gervinho to find his early season form as the Ivorian has been non-existent in his last two outings. Roberto Inglese should start in place of Fabio Ceravolo in attack, while Leo Stulac will miss out after his straight red card against Frosinone last weekend with Antonio Barilla expected to take the Slovenian Internationals place in midfield.
Despite sitting in 12th place, eight points clear of the relegation zone, Parma will be desperate to pick up points, as another defeat here faced with some tricky fixtures coming up could spell problems for Parma.
Torino will be in confident mood coming in to this one, having hammered Sampdoria 4-1 last weekend as well as having gone six games now without defeat, only tasted defeat twice all season against Roma and Napoli.
Mazzarri will be without Soualihe Meite who is suspended and will look to Iago Falque to continue his fine form and fire his side to an expected home victory.
The last time Torino hosted Parma in Serie A was back in October 2014, Roberto Donadoni’s Parma had won just one of their opening eight games and Torino piled more misery on Parma as they secured a 1-0 victory thanks to a Matteo Darmian goal in the tenth minute.