Parma, 16 April 2021 – On the eve of Cagliari vs. Parma, which will kick off at 20:45 CEST tomorrow, Coach Roberto D’Aversa had the following to say to the press:

“We’ve had difficult moments in the past, but the final outcome has always been positive. A coach takes stock both when things are going well and when they’re not going so well. We’re currently disappointed at not having fully made the most of what we’ve done on the pitch and not having corrected the mistakes that have led to certain results and our current position in the league.

“As far as Cagliari are concerned, their president mentioned the fact that they increased their budget. One thing we maybe have in common is the fact that there wasn’t any continuity in terms of the work done last season, which has perhaps resulted in difficulties. On paper, Cagliari have a strong squad. They’re just two points ahead of us in the league, which goes to show just how complicated Serie A is.

“We need to focus on ourselves and not on anyone else, all the while remaining aware of the match we’re set to play. Tomorrow, we won’t be facing just a team but also a whole region. It won’t be a normal match, it’s the match: the game that will allow one of the two teams to approach their remaining fixtures in a certain way as they look to pick up results. Whoever emerges victorious tomorrow will look at what is on the horizon with a different perspective. We need to concentrate on tomorrow’s match and play in a determined way so we can come out on top.

“We didn’t do well against AC Milan in the first half and we can’t afford to play like this. You can lose against sides like AC Milan, but you can’t allow teams to have it all their own way in the opening period: this isn’t part of our DNA. We’re all responsible, myself first and foremost. Tomorrow, we need to ensure that this doesn’t happen. We’ll need to remain focused and determined for 95 minutes and keep our heads in the game without thing of anything else. On paper, we’ll be up against a strong side that are experiencing difficulties because they’ve lost their last four matches. Nevertheless, they produced an excellent performance against Inter.

“All of us should feel responsible at the moment. As a coach, I need to analyse why we initially struggled against Benevento, even if the game was the first one after the international break. Against AC Milan, we knew we were playing against a strong side and needed to recover the points we lost in Benevento, which is why I was expecting a different attitude in the first half, which was the one we saw after the restart.

“What I need to do is figure out the eleven guys that haven given me the best signs for tomorrow. We’ll need to have extra motivation for this one. Those that can give me the most guarantees will likely start. However, some of the players have only trained once this week so we’ll figure it out tomorrow. Rather than talking about the game last year, I’ll discuss our last two matches. We’re squandering a lot of chances, this cannot happen tomorrow. We need to approach it like it’s a final, without thinking about the future. We have to cut out the mistakes and take our chances because, in our last two games, we’ve created more than our opponents but drawn one and lost the other. To make sure that we’re still in contention in the final three games, we have to win tomorrow. Since I’ve been here, the numbers have been improving, but the only number that really matters is the three points. We haven’t been doing enough to win, so we need to improve.

“If I’d always had two strikers fit, I think we’d have seen them together on the pitch more often. This is not always my wish; if the physical condition of both allows it, it is a situation that can occur, but you must also have an alternative, or the ability to replace one of the two in times of need. We know we have two strikers out, like Inglese and Zirkzee, so we reason on the basis of who can be on the pitch.

“One doubt I always have is about Dierckx. If you watched carefully against AC Milan, there was an extra player warming up and it was him, this means that if the player who played and had a problem had pulled out injured, he would’ve started. Daan is a player with a lot of potential, so we must try not to burn him out. He has grown exponentially: he showed it against Sassuolo with personality and coolness despite only being 18. Other players have made big strides forward. I’m thinking of Busi, who is someone else that is providing me with headaches in terms of team selection, but also Dennis Man. The most important thing is to go to Cagliari and try to get a result for the President and the fans.”