Collecchio, 4 March 2022 – On the eve of Parma vs. Reggina, which will take place at 14:00 CET on Saturday at the Stadio Ennio Tardini, Beppe Iachini held a video press conference at Collecchio. This is what the Crociati Coach had to say:

“We need to continue going down the same path we’ve been on since I’ve been here, working on tactics on an individual level and as a team, finding an identity and, in the process, improving every single player. Despite the many problems we’ve had, the team are improving. With so many players out, it isn’t easy to gain continuity. Nevertheless, we’ve worked hard, and the group and individuals are both growing.

“I wanted to play Vazquez behind the strikers in a more attacking role, and this can be seen by the numbers: he’s scored a lot and provided several assists, also hitting the woodwork on various occasions. Unfortunately, he hasn’t always received protection from referees, with fouls on him not always being recognised as such. These things also don’t help. We’re pulling together and many of our young guys are showcasing their talents, and this is positive. We’ll continue to work and take things game by game, trying to give our all in every match. We need to take to the pitch looking for three points. Some things have gone against us and we could have scored more goals in certain matches. This is part of the journey, but our mentality must always be a proactive one. We’ll see how many points we achieve and take stock at the end.

“No new faces will be back for our match against Reggina. With the amount of games we’ve been playing, we’ll have to evaluate things on the injury front. Vazquez is fatigued and wasn’t in good shape when he came off in Monza. Because of all our absences, we haven’t been able to make changes and some of the lads have had to dig deep to make it through the last few games. It would have been better to have more players available in order to rest a few, but that hasn’t been possible. We now need to recuperate and play well against a team that, having got some of their players back, are doing well. They’re an experienced side with good players at this level. They’re organised and have won four out of their last five matches. Therefore, we’ll have to produce a great display where everyone does their bit from the first until the 95th minute.

“Are we already thinking about next season? Absolutely not. I’m focused on the present, and this is telling me that Sits, for example, has lent us a big hand. He’d played 70 minutes for the Primavera four days before, but I needed him because of his ability to exploit space and attack in behind. We had eleven players born after 2000 in our squad for the Monza game, but this was out of necessity and not because I’m thinking about the future. We could read things better at certain moments, but I can’t ask too much of lads who are so young. My focus is on winning every game.

“In this part of the season, playing once a week would have helped us in terms of recovery. Vazquez has played six matches in 18 days and runs twelve kilometres a match, just like his teammates. It would have been good to rest him, but we just haven’t been able to do so with so many players out. We should be happy that something worse hasn’t happened. We need to manage these situations and deal with the calendar, which is what it is. Having more arrows in my quiver wouldn’t have been a bad thing; instead, we’ve had to push some guys to the edge.

“Despite the injuries, the team are giving a very good response on a physical level: they’re showing intensity and being aggressive. There was a bit of a drop in the last 15 minutes against Monza, but, given our situation, this is normal. Vazquez asked to come off 25 minutes from the end. I didn’t want to take him off, but he’d taken a blow to the ankle and really was exhausted. At that point, our opponents had already started to look more dangerous: we were being less aggressive up front and dropping back a bit. With so many matches in quick succession and players who have had to play continually, you do end up paying the price somewhat, but it’s a physiological problem. Nevertheless, in terms of our running and the distance we’re covering, we’re doing excellently.

“Due to fatigue, we didn’t pass the ball enough in Monza, and this is something that shouldn’t happen. At times, you recover by keeping the ball; otherwise, it’s your turn to do some running. Being in possession is also a form of defence. We need players who know how to manage possession, and we’re growing in this respect. However, against Monza, we had less energy in the last ten minutes and weren’t able to do this as consistently as we’d done in other games. At times, we haven’t been able to kill off matches because we got our final ball wrong. This also happened in our last match, and, in football, you can be punished if you make mistakes. We need to become more clinical and precise.

“Given what the team have done on the pitch, we’ve deserved more points. The statistics tell us this: with the chances we haven’t allowed and all the opportunities we’ve created, we should have 6-7 more points to our name, but we don’t have them. We’ll look ahead and need to produce some big performances to make our fans proud, going for it in every match with the best mentality possible.”