Parma, 15 February 2019 – On the eve of Parma’s 24th 2018/19 Serie A TIM fixture of the season away to Cagliari tomorrow at 18:00 CET,  Coach Roberto D’Aversa spoke to the press at the Collecchio Training Centre. This is what he had to say:

Scozzarella has had a problem during the week so won’t be available. Dimarco and Sierralta also won’t be in the matchday squad, while Gagliolo is suspended. Bruno Alves didn’t complete training in full today but should be able to play tomorrow. We have to give the match the same importance as they’ll be giving it, despite the fact that we’re a few points ahead of them. For us, it’s important for our objective, making it a direct clash to avoid relegation. We shouldn’t think about where they are in the league because it’s not a reflection of the quality of their squad. We’ll be playing in a heated atmosphere and need to be prepared mentally: in a direct clash, it’s important to be intense and aggressive when it comes to winning duels.

“The risk of making calculations? A characteristic of my team is that we take to the pitch to achieve the maximum possible. But we also need to keep in mind the characteristics of Cagliari: they often use a 4-3-1-2 formation and play direct football to try to make the most of aerial duels up front and attack deep in the opposition’s half. They are also good when it comes to second balls. We can’t make calculations nor think about the fact that we’re in a better position in the league than them. We need to try to give our all and worry about producing a big performance.

“Our physical drop-off against Inter? We are able to use data that the Lega sends on to us from the games that are played. Both the team’s performance and individuals are assessed. Some of this data said that both Inter and Parma dropped off physically from the 75th to 90th minute and that Parma weren’t inferior to Inter in this respect. A physical drop-off is always spoken about when you lose, but in Genoa we brought home the three points in the second half, while in Turin we managed to get a draw in the second half. There are situations where games are lost because of the key moments that occur. I haven’t read about Inter having problems physically in the first half, and yet in the first 20 minutes or so the game was played in their half of the pitch. If we had managed to take the lead, the result perhaps would have been different. The game was lost because of a mistake in midfield and because our defence made mistakes. We matched a strong side in Inter for 70 minutes.

“Gobbi starting? It could be a solution. He’s trained really well in the week following his injury earlier on this season. However, this is something that takes us back in time considering that we spent most of the first half of the season with just five defenders across the board. Yet, we don’t want to give any excuses, this team has demonstrated that they’re solid when in difficulty.

“Barella? He’s proving to be an important player in the league and a consistent presence in the National Team. Our trouble is thinking too much about their league position, without considering the investments made to their squad. It will be not be an easy game. We must think that we’re taking on a good side whose league position doesn’t compute.

“You don’t need to motivate the players for a game against Inter. However, for the match against Cagliari you have to persist in saying how important it is. Even if the lads are intelligent enough that you don’t need to remind them. During our practice matches in training, we’ve tried to ensure that we’re ready for tomorrow. Particularly from an intensity point of view, making sure that we’re prepared for physical battles and to get all three points.

Tomorrow’s game is very important. If we get the win then we’re even closer to our objective. This situation must be reflected through our performance. Scozzarella’s absence? Stulac was brought on against Inter as he didn’t have 90 minutes in him. He played the last game despite having a fever. You risk paying the price when you seek peak physical fitness. Kucka? He’s trained normally apart from the first few days, he’s available.”