Collecchio, 3 November 2022 – The press conference for the presentation of the new head coach of the Women’s First Team, Domenico Panico, was held on Thursday afternoon, 3 November 2022, in the press room of the Collecchio Training Centre and streamed live on the official You Tube channel Parma Femminile. He was introduced by sporting director Domenico Aurelio.



“As you know, it’s a bit of a difficult time for the women’s team, although in the course of a sporting season it’s normal for this to happen: I am the first person in charge, having laid the first brick in June to build from scratch, together with the whole club and my staff, this creature, as I call it. But it is precisely in these somewhat complicated moments that I have to reverse the trend and make certain decisions. And one of these is the change of coach. It is not the easiest choice, because before the coach there is a friend, so it was a very difficult choice, but I have to work to achieve the good of Parma, and the choice has fallen on Mr Domenico Panico, a stand up man, with the a great work ethic, who has shown, as a coach, twice in a row to get out of these moments, among other things with certain players that we have on our roster. I publicly wish good luck to the coach, to whom I pass the word”.


“I’m proud to be part of this project: it’s a great opportunity and it’s not just empty words, but the impact has been very positive, I’ve found a lot of people who are willing to work 24 hours a day with me and for me. The environment is very positive so that we can achieve the goal we have set ourselves, through work and through enthusiasm. It’s an opportunity that I want to try to seize because I am coming from a long apprenticeship: I hope this is a chance that can improve my qualities as a head coach because I think I’ve deserved it for what I’ve already achieved.


Coach Panico, in Pomigliano, had taken the team over after only three days, the situation was a bit different than it is now after a full round of matches…

“Yes, there are a few similarities, first of all because of the club where I worked before and to which I owe a lot, from President Pipola to director Seno, who gave me the opportunity to get to know this movement: the challenge had been arduous, whereas here it is not a challenge, but the continuation of a championship: the team is competitive and can reach the goal set by the club for this first year in the women’s sector in Serie A without any problems. Last year there were many problems that we brought to an end by literally performing a miracle, which was not much extolled because it was a new club that was entering the professional world for the first time, because we had come up against realities far superior to our own. Here, on the other hand, it is Parma: I am part of a historic club in Italian football, I don’t just think for the first year, I think I work for Parma and I have seen this directly in these first two days. So there’s a lot of work to do, but that’s why I’m here. I want to reiterate that I am proud to represent Parma Calcio in this Serie A Championship, in my first year as well and I am sure we will do well…”

One of the main problems for Coach Ulderici was that he never had the entire squad available, due to many long injuries and some of whom have never even been on the pitch: you had the opportunity to meet the girls in these first two days of training: what kind of group did you see and what are their chances in three weeks’ time, when they start up again, to recover some players?

“I found a group full of desire to work. Obviously there are problems, but there are on all levels, luckily the Director has given me a large staff: there are professionals in the field, the girls are really treated and cared for all the time, morning and afternoon. Then there are problems, but I have seen great application and great desire to work. I want to focus on the ones I have available, which are very competitive: the others will come back, some in a short time, some in a little longer, but the ones I have are fine. In these two days – and it was not to be taken for granted – they have responded in the way we wanted: I have seen desire, determination, passion, application, they talk little and work a lot. In the meantime I also want to thank the staff who made the Director known to me and it was not easy: I came here alone and I found people who welcomed me as if I had been here for months, as early as yesterday. So we work on the girls who are ready and we wait with great confidence for the return of the others.”

You will find some players you have already been with in this team during last year’s stint in Pomigliano – Banusci, Cox, Ippolito and Vaitukaitite -: what help can these girls, whose strengths and weaknesses you already know, give you?

“With them the work is easier and this is normal; however, the good fortune I have is to be able to train high-level players: in addition to the four I have already worked with, there are top international players in our squad; there is a good mix of experienced and young players. So the impact was positive with all of them, having already met them last year. At the beginning of the year, in an interview, without knowing anything about what was going to happen, I had already paid my compliments to Parma for the construction of this team, net of injuries that, I repeat, are part of the game and we see it every Sunday, with teams plagued by injuries and this is nothing new, but as I repeat, the squad is competitive to achieve the goal we have set ourselves.

In the first half of the season, we saw that there is a very large gap between the top teams in the table and the mid- and lower-ranked teams: is it possible to close it or get closer?

“The matches with top-ranked teams must show us that we can play with the others in the way we want to: Our idea is to always play our game with everyone: if we manage to show quality and compete with teams that on paper are stronger than us, then we will certainly manage to score points with teams that are at the same level as us. The idea is not to be remiss in being proactive.

Is the idea to make the Tardini a fortress?

The Tardini is a source of pride: obviously it gives strength to the opposing teams to come and feel proud to set foot on one of the historic pitches of Italian football; for us it is a boost and the girls are aware of this. I’m convinced that the points will come and also the performance of character, of a team convinced of what it can achieve: from this point of view I put my hand over the fire and I take the responsibility to say that the team that has built the management and that will be led by me and my staff.”


How did the first training sessions go? What are the things that need to be worked on more, maybe even changing something about the girls’ performance?

“I found them very enthusiastic, it was not obvious because there was a change of coach but I found great application. Then the girls are sincere: in these moments they make you understand. Yesterday was good and today even better. I saw they were satisfied: I’m trying to optimise these three scarce weeks for the first official fixture and I repeat myself: from the technical-tactical point of view we’ll think about it very calmly; from the point of view of energy and moral and character quality we’re already working on it”.

Parma, at the moment, is struggling to score and, at the same tiumre, conceding too many goals: on which aspect do you think you should focus on more? The scoring side, or the defensive side?

“We are currently the worst attack and the worst defence: these are objective numbers. Surely we will try to shoot more on goal: our goal is to score more goals, then, of course, we must also win games because then in the long run they are the ones that will make the difference to have an important group in the play-offs that will take place in February”.

It is said that in women’s football, much more than in men’s, the mental side is crucial: you find a team with a very young average age, can this be an extra difficulty in reaching that goal?

“I took one of the youngest players – Coach Ulderici was already using her – Giorgia Arrigoni, who is now a permanent member of the first team, in order to make an immediate impact: an 18-year-old girl who should be a key player right away. But here we have the right mix: we have in the squad players who have more than 50 appearances in the national team, we have one of the most important players on the national scene who is our captain, Valeria Pirone, who even if she cannot play right now, works a lot with the girls on the outside. It’s the right mix because the young girls are of great quality, the experienced girls are of excellent quality: I don’t want to name names, but believe me, in every department, starting from Alessia Capelletti, to the attacking corps, we have a lot of choice and a lot of quality. Objectively speaking, this is a difficult period, but it is in difficult times that great teams are created: we have examples close to us of teams with big absences that have achieved great results: let’s try, therefore, to work on the positive, to see what is good, because there is a lot, and to reverse the numbers that are now giving us the wrong idea…”.


Director Domenico Aurelio: How did you arrive at the decision to sack him after a game that Parma had not lost? Usually a coach is sacked after a defeat….

It wasn’t a on a limb decision after the Sampdoria game: it was a thought out decision, shared with the club and the president. It is true that we scored a point in Bogliasco, but we played for 30 minutes a man-up and the main reason for this change is – perhaps I will be a bit arrogant – because I consider this team and this Club something superior compared to certain realities that there are in women’s football and therefore we must not be content to play well, but to lose, we must not be content with a point against Samp… We are Parma and especially when there are conditions, like those of last Sunday, we must exploit them in the best possible way, especially at this time”.

Did the fact that we are the team with the worst attack and the worst defence in the league matter?

“Yes. What matters is the mentality: we have to be more confident in our heads. Conceding fewer goals and scoring more. We have to understand that we are Parma and when they come to play in our stadium it has to be a fortress and when we go to play we have to impose our mentality and our game, but really the name Parma.” 

How did you arrive at the choice of this coach? Did the fact that he knew some of the players have an impact?

“I had several conversations with him and the thing that struck me most about him is that he is a very very down-to-earth person, and that is what I need right now. A person who makes work his cornerstone, and is very very committed: when we spoke on the phone he told me if he came he’ll save the team and that gave me the right impetus to choose him. I had other options, but I’m very young, I don’t have a lot of experience and what is keeping me going in my work are my instincts: I had and continue to have very good feelings about the coach, which are turning into belief.”

Coach Domenico Panico, on what times have you seen this team play? What have you noticed? Which departments, defence, midfield, attack, need to be strengthened the most and where do you need to work?

“Staying at home I tried to watch a bit ofmall the teams, I saw a fair few of Pomigliano’s matches at home and I also want to make a clarification, because it was read that the director’s decision to take me was linked to the fact that I had already coached four girls from Parma who were previously at Pomigliano. But in this group, in addition to those four, there are twenty-six others that I know, because last year I worked and coached in the women’s team and obviously I read up on it and it is not said that these four girls have a different path than the others, because then someone may think they play because the coach knows them and so on. The team must have an identity, because others do: we have to build a precise identity: we are working on it, we will work on it and as soon as possible we will have it.

Do you expect reinforcements? Will anyone be added?

‘I only need eleven plus the five subs, that’s sixteen girls: today I trained eighteen, so that’s fine… The director has assured me that until the opening of the market he has maximum confidence in the girls, I will try to raise their level, my goal is to make them all stay, because for me they are all Parma girls. Then, at the opening of the market, if the director will see the need to make corrections, he will do so; but for me the team, as it is built, can reach the goal that the club has set itself, which is to save their season.

Do you plan to change anything tactically?

“I have a lot of respect for the previous coach: I had met him last year at Empoli. He is a well-prepared, capable coach, who made his teams play well, so I have the highest esteem for him and I have the utmost solidarity with him. I have my own head, of course, I have my ideas: I know where this team has to go and I’m already working on it. Above all, the first level on which we are working a lot is that of character and personality: we have to be more practical, put the opponent in more difficult situations and above all we have to make them understand even more that we are Parma. Then the games are played, we still have many to do and without any kind of presumption, but with job security and with the resources that the club give to me every day, we will be able to reach the goal as soon as possible”.