Parma, 9 January 2021– “First of all, I’d like to thank Fabio Liverani publicly after also doing so privately. It’s often the case that coaches pay the price for below-par results. However, everybody should shoulder some of the responsibility, and I’m referring to the lads in particular when I say this. If we think that the problem is suddenly resolved with the arrival of Roberto D’Avera, I think we’d be making a big mistake. However, I’m pleased to be back home.” This is what Coach Roberto D’Aversa had to say when commenting on his return to the Crociati dugout and ahead of tomorrow’s match against Lazio. He continued:

“I’m not happy with the fact that the team haven’t been doing well, because we all know how many sacrifices have been made over the past few years in order to bring Parma back from Serie D to Serie A. We achieved an unrepeatable feat together. I want to safeguard what we did in three and a half years. I’m driven by the love I have for this city, the passion of the fans and the importance of this Club, irrespective of the fact that there’s been a change of ownership.

“I think that we’ve all been fortunate: we’ve gone from a professional setup with the old owners and are building on this with a new President who has big ideas and ambitions. We all need to do our bit in order to achieve our objective, which is to stay in Serie A. At this current time, our position in the league table means that we wouldn’t remain in the top flight. Therefore, we need to push the reset button with the aim of achieving the goal set out by our President at the start of the season. I believe that if we’re able to fuel enthusiasm, we’ll be able to have a brighter future that will benefit everyone, including myself, the players and the city itself. This is a city that has been able to reach certain heights as a result of sticking together and showing determination and desire in difficult moments.

“When I got in the car to come to Parma, I thought about my three and a half years here and all the success and joy we had. When looking back, it’s clear that we had some difficulties, but these are part of the job and life in general. You can get knocked down, but the important thing is to get back up and move towards your objective. I believe that the path we’ve been down has led me to think in a positive way and be increasingly convinced that I’ve returned home in order to achieve an objective that would be vital considering what has been done in the last few years.

Dwelling on what happened in the past wouldn’t bring any positives. As I said when I left, I’ll always be grateful to Parma Calcio: they gave me the opportunity to coach, to do what I’ve done in the dugout and to grow alongside the Club. All the positive things I’ve experienced render what happened at the end of last season insignificant: for me, there’s no problem. I urge and kindly ask for the reset button to be pushed, because focusing on what happened won’t get us anywhere and we’ll just be wasting needless energy. We need to concentrate on the present: tomorrow, we have a match against Lazio. President Krause was the one who gave me a call: he thinks I’ll be able to solve some of the team’s problems. As I’ve already said to the President and the Sporting Director, my arrival isn’t enough. It’s imperative that we all think in the same way and that we’re focused on the present. We’re currently third from bottom in the league and must get out of this situation in order to have a bright future. 

“As is to be expected, the group’s morale currently isn’t the best: we’ve suffered four consecutive defeats and are third from bottom. The mental side of things often has an impact on a team’s physical condition. We currently have players who are injured or not feeling 100%. We need to get to work on them mentally and press the reset button so that what happened previously isn’t carried forward into our upcoming matches. We need to focus on the fact that we’ll be playing a very strong side tomorrow, but we can’t start as a beaten side: we need to take to the pitch thinking that we can get a result. As regards our starting line-up, it’s best to ask the Doctor, because there are enormous difficulties at the moment. However, we’ve been used to this and, over the years, have never made excuses.

“You know me, I’d never take a draw, even if my side were coming up against the strongest team in the world. If we focus on achieving a draw, a defeat will inevitably result. We need to take to the pitch with the desire and the objective to cause a strong side problems. Then, if we’ve managed to pick up a point come the end of the game, we’ll be satisfied. However, the aim is to pick up a victory. The players aren’t divided into newcomers and the old guard, only the team exists. The fortune we’ve had is that the team have always taken to the pitch as a team in the past few years, we always need to have the right attitude.

Gervinho has been training well and with the team, I’ll wait until the last minute to assess things with the Doctor and coaches because there are a lot of things to consider. It’s true that it’s an important match and it’s true that we need to give our all in order to get a result, but it’s also the case that we can’t afford to lose players: this has already happened with Laurini yesterday. We need to consider everything. Inglese and Cornelius are two important players and we’ll need to assess their condition. Roberto came off against Atalanta due to a small problem, but he’s made himself available for tomorrow and I’ll wait to decide who will start.

Direct football? Labels are often used that I don’t like. There are various ways to play football and no correct way exists. Every coach looks to make the most of their players’ characteristics.

“During my time away from the dugout, I would have liked to do things that I wasn’t able to, like watch training sessions and study English abroad. This, unfortunately, wasn’t possible, so I studied matches at home and enjoyed my time with my family and children. This is something that I didn’t do much as a player and which has continued since I became a coach, so I made the most of the recent period to make up for this.

“For various reasons, we’re yet to enjoy success against Lazio. Looking back at the match last season, for example, there were various incidents that I don’t want to comment on because we shouldn’t focus on what we can’t control. Things went against us and we showed less composure compared to them: they took their opportunity to score. I hope the time has come to achieve a positive result against Lazio, and we need to play at 120% to do so.”