Parma, 6 September 2020“I think today was useful training for us. We’ve had seven or eight training sessions together, nothing more. Players like Inglese and Grassi haven’t played 90 minutes since October. Gervinho got back a bit later, some players in the back line hadn’t ever played together, like Darmian and Bruno Alves. What was important for us was to get some minutes in, work hard and cause them some issues.” These were the words of Fabio Liverani, Parma head coach, after today’s friendly against Empoli at the Stadio Ennio Tardini.

We need to work on making this automatic, but I knew that already. We needed to work on it and will need to work on it. I think this defensive line had never played like that, so that’s why they struggled. Inglese and Grassi completing the full 90 was a positive. It’s clear that these seven to ten days with players away on international duty have created problems. They get back between Tuesday and Wednesday, then we’ll have eight to ten days to prepare as best we can for matchday 1 against Napoli. By that point we’ll have ingrained our identity, by 50-60% at least.