“Last year’s game against Empoli was a delicate moment in terms of our league season, although that game helped us achieve promotion because it made us regroup. Being a Coach is a great job. You feel the responsibility of the club and everything that surrounds it. I took responsibility even when I was a player. Following that 4-0, there was satisfaction at reaching Serie A at the end of the season. In Italian football, coaches are given responsibility too easily. It’s a cultural problem. If you compare our position now to that of last season, then we’ve got an advantage on the team who’s third-bottom. We must think rationally. In Serie A, everyone goes through a tough spell sooner or later, and it’s now down to us to make sure we stay up.
“We tried our new formation as a solution during the last game against Napoli. However, regardless of the system of play, the most important thing is the team’s attitude. We must analyse what we can improve on, looking to make fewer mistakes. If there are more than one then it’s not a matter of individuals and I’m responsible for this. The only medicine for staying up is hard work.
“During the first half of the season and up until the game against Udinese, each individual did everything they could to avoid conceding. Something has changed since and we now need to improve to get out of this situation. Empoli have changed their style of play under their new coach. We must focus on the smallest details to get a result.
“So far, the difference has been made by the way in which the lads have played each game. If you play as a team then the individuals can thrive. Empoli were one step ahead of us in recent years because they were used to this league. They deserved to win the league last year and they’ve since maintained the same style of play. Mentally, we must be prepared to face a different Empoli side. We’re more likely to get a result if we’re modest and solid.
“How is the team doing? Stulac tried to train this morning but he had a problem with this calf. Neither he, Scozzarella or Ceravolo will be available. We’ve started to bring Bastoni back, while Sierralta has joined the team. Having these players available during the week helps to increase motivation and competition within the team.
“Schiappacasse? He has important qualities, and he’s technically good with both feet. Brazão is a young lad with potential and some important qualities. He needs to settle in, but our coach always gets the best out of the goalkeepers. Our goal must be to get all three points and give our all. Empoli are a pragmatic side, that play with less possession than before. We must pay them close attention and concede as few mistakes as possible. We know how important it is to get a result.
“The lads have trained really well, with intensity. We just need to work on our attitude, as you must also focus on the mental aspect of the players. We know that we’re in a delicate point of the season and we must get back to playing as a team – sticking together when we commit errors.”