Parma, 15 May 2019 – Simone Iacoponi spoke to the press today at the Collecchio Training Centre and had the following to say ahead of the Crociati’s home game against Fiorentina on Sunday at 15:00 CEST:

We didn’t want it to be this way, but a final awaits us on Sunday. We want to put any relegation talk to bed. The crowd’s support will be important. The fans have helped us in many different situations this year and in past seasons, their help is even more crucial in moments of difficulty.  We’ve made many sacrifices together and come into this game with our objective within reach – this is the only thing we need to think about. We’ve reflected on the Bologna defeat and it’s in the past now. Mistakes were made that need to be set aside, our focus is on Fiorentina.

“Bruno Alves? As has already happened, someone else will come in. We know that he’s an important player, but our strength has been working as a group during a year where there have been a lot of difficulties. We’re therefore not thinking about absences but about who will play. There’s never been the feeling that we were already safe. We perhaps thought that we would secure survival earlier, but we knew that it wouldn’t be easy. Let’s achieve this objective together on Sunday. Nothing can be taken for granted. No one has given anything to us for free, and the same will apply to Fiorentina. It depends on us, we need to win. Making calculations? It’s a waste of energy, we need to think about ourselves and then we’ll see what Empoli have done at the end of the match.

“I’m happy, it’s a source of pride for me to have been able to play in all of our matches this year. It’s clear that coming from the Lega Pro to a position where you’re fighting it out to remain in Serie A – as will be the case in Sunday’s game – makes you give everything. We all need to take responsibility together, the team is what makes the difference. We were missing something in Bologna, but the attitude we’ve wanted to approach matches with has always been positive – we’ve always tried to give our all. Our fans? They need to remain close to us, just like they’ve always been. We’ve always managed to get out of difficult situations together with our supporters over the past few years.

I say to my teammates that we’ve got through moments of difficulty in the past by coming together and remaining united. We have to do the same now. You can’t defeat the opposition on your own, this is done by helping out your teammates. Three or four players at the back? I don’t know what the Coach will decide. I’ve played as a central defender as part of a three-man and four-man defence. It’s a role I feel comfortable in because it suits my characteristics.”