Collecchio, 1 October 2022 – Head Coach Fabio Ulderici spoke on the eve of matchday 5 against Roma, scheduled for Sunday 2 October at Agostino Di Bartolomei at Trigoria, Roma:

How are the squad ahead of the game?

“We’re playing against a really strong side who qualified for the Champions League group stages on Thursday, and I’d like to take this opportunity to congratulate them. They have many players who represent their national sides and in the last year and a half have matured a lot. All of our games so far have been tough, we’ve faced Inter, Sassuolo, Fiorentina and AC Milan, now Roma: without a shadow of a doubt, it’s a real tough league and for teams like us, who are going to be fighting relegation, it’s really complicated. We know it’ll be a hard game but we go into the game, as always, confident and relaxed. I trust the girls who are available; unfortunately, we’ve not been able to see the real Parma so far because we’ve had lots of injuries for a while now. But this is the most difficult time we’ve had as we go into the game against Roma with only two forwards, and young players who are training with us, and three midfielders. The rest are all youngsters and this could put us in difficulty because we know we have to get back these injured players as soon as possible in order to raise the level of training standards and competition within the squad. This would allow us to be able to make changes during the game having worked on things during the week. So, it’s absolutely vital we get back some players. We believe in all of them though and look forward to facing Roma. As I told the girls yesterday, these are the best games to play in and we want to continue playing them.”

On paper, the Giallorosse are favourites, but sometimes shock results can happen, like Sassuolo’s draw with Juventus in the last round of games…

“First of all, every game starts off at 0-0 and we must remember that because you cannot go out there thinking you’ve already lost. The idea is to always go out and win, whilst at the same time knowing that we’re facing a really strong side. We’ll have to play well and take our chances when they arrive. The main thing I ask is to show we deserve to be in this league wearing this shirt. We lacked a bit of this in our last two games, including the Coppa Italia, so I’m looking for a reaction. If we can show that attitude, I’m convinced we’ll see the real Parma when we have a full squad available. We put this squad together thinking of specific characteristics, so whilst we wait, we have to try and give our all. But everything starts from our attitude and in my opinion, it’s vital we find it tomorrow.” 

You restarted well with the performance in Florence, where Parma lost but put on a good show…

“If we look at the first five games of the season, it was clear that we would have had some difficulties in taking points, but we always play to win. Against Fiorentina, we deserved something more, we got three points against Sassuolo, so if we look at the table today, even if for me it makes no sense, we are in line with our expectations. We need to get back to the way we were against Sassuolo and try to be more clinical than we were against Fiorentina. When you get chances, you have to take them and try to understand the importance of certain moments. At Florence, we conceded inside two minutes, and then after having drawn level, we conceded again only three minutes later. You can’t always come back from behind because you have to invest more energy. This is where we have to improve for me, to not go behind too early on. It’s true that there’s lot of time still to play but the game starts off on the wrong track. So, we have to start off again knowing that what we want to take onto the field, we can only do it if there’s a different attitude in place. I don’t want to keep repeating myself, but this is our priority; if there is this in place, the rest will take care of itself; if there isn’t, everything we do during the week is a waste of time because you always arrive second to the ball, arrive late at second balls, you don’t win your battles, you don’t have the confidence to take on players, you don’t have that clinical edge in front of goal. Instead, for us it’s vital we understand that we play every game at 150%, without gifting anything to the opposition, trying to make them earn everything. If we have to be beaten then it has to be deserved on their part and not given away on our part. This is a priority…

An attitude that was missing against Milan…

“Absolutely: it’s true that we were up against a really strong side who are probably much further ahead of us in their development, but it’s also true that we could have done much better. We didn’t make their lives hard enough, and complicated ours giving away some terrible goals. As I said the other day, the opposition should not react first to a penalty save, we need to have the desire to arrive their first, that’s what we need to show in every minute of every game. Then, when we have the ball and chances, we have to be clinical.”

At the end of game against AC Milan, Giovana Maia came on: are there any others back?

“We have Giovana Maia back, who is a top player and very important for us, but we have lost a few other important players, without giving out any names, but it’s obvious who if you look at the squad list. We have some important players out but just as many who are in. Giovana Maia gives us experience, communication, organisation at the back, as well as her quality as a player. Obviously, she’s missing 90 minutes in her legs but we’ll look to manage her in the best possible way. She’s ready, we’re happy, and this is some positive news for us.”

You’ll be facing a different Roma to the Champions League game the other night, how do you analyse them?

“They’ll probably change something, but regardless of what they do and who they play, they have quality players. If I’m not mistaken, they have 15 internationals in their squad, they are led well, coached well, and who like to control games. They attack well, defend well, have great technical quality but are also extremely fit.  We’ll need to be good to limit them. We’ll probably have to play a slightly different game to the way we usually play, but that’s part of our development, being able to change depending on who we face and the moment we’re experiencing. We’ll have to take our chances, whether they be what we create or from their errors. We’ll have to play for the full 90 minutes and more because if we switch off or lower our levels, Roma are a side who can punish you, so we can’t let that happen. I want our concentration to be at its maximum, because at the end of the game, we can then hold our heads high, even if they are better than us.”