Collecchio, 25 March 2023 – Here’s what Head Coach Domenico Panico had to say on the eve of the game with Sassuolo, scheduled to take place on Sunday 26 March 2023 at 12:30 CEST at stadio Ennio Tardini in Parma, for matchday 2 in the Women’s Serie A“Relegation Round”.

Coach Domenico Panico, matchday 2 in the Women’s Serie A“Relegation Round”: Parma host Sassuolo, how is the squad ahead of the game?

“It’s been a peculiar week, because clearly we were expecting a much different start at Pomigliano. We’ve worked on some errors we made, but the players have prepared well and we want to give a better performance tomorrow.”

Along with Sampdoria, Sassuolo are one of two sides that have failed to beat Parma in this year’s Serie A. Parma have scored the most number of goals against Sassuolo in this season’s campaign (four) and are the only team in which they have scored at least two goals in both league games. The Crociate have done well so far against them, but the next will be different again…

“Sassuolo are currently in really good shape; they won their last three games, and have not conceded a single goal. They’ve got momentum, have some good players all across the pitch, as well as a mix of domestic and foreign players. It’ll be a tough game, just as they all are. Clearly, points matter and we need to go out and give a different performance to the last one at Pomigliano, where we had no fluency, and in a crucial period in the game we didn’t do what we needed to. Tomorrow, we’ve got the chance to change that and try and get the three points.”

Sassuolo are at the top the table in the Relegation Round

“They definitely have a talented group of players, probably the stronget of the five teams, plus in this period they have got some confidence that maybe they were lacking in the past, so are coming to the Tardini believing in their game…”

What are their threats?

“They have many, both individually and collectively as a group. I repeat: they have strong players at the back, in the middle and up front; they play well out wide and we’ll have to be aware. We need to propose our game, though; we need to put them under pressure and play the way we want to without being influenced too much by they way they go about things…”

Has the fact that things didn’t quite go to plan at Pomigliano made you think about your options more this weekend, or is there total faith in those who started?

“A game that doesn’t go as expected shouldn’t create any problems: we realise things weren’t done well, but we have our identity and we’ve been through some tough periods already this season. So, from this point of view, we know how to react and how we need to play, so I’m relaxed because I see the work put in during the week. They’ve done what’s been asked of the,. We need to be more aggressive and competitive, and be sure of ourselves more…”

What have you said to motivate the players ahead of the game tomorrow, considering last week’s performance?

“We looked back at the game, analysed it and moved on. On the first day of training after the game, we looked at some of the errors made; then, from day 2, we moved our attentions to Sassuolo. There’s no point getting despondent and looking back negatively at what happened, we need to stay calm because that allows you to work with confidence because it’s very important and delicate stage of the season. We need to try and put anxiety and nerves to one side and play with serenity, character and personality. We have a strong group of players here, who are able to reach the targets set by the Club at the start of the season. From this point of view, and I don’t want to keep repeating myself, but I watch the players work day in day out, week after week, and the girls are doing what is asked of them. All games are difficult, like the one against Pomigliano, and like the next six will be.” 

Sassuolo have won their last three Serie A games, without conceding a goal…

“Yes: it’s a sign of a team in good form, but they were against teams in and around them becasue they beat Como away, then Pomigliano in the regular season before beating Sampdoria last week in the first game back in the Relegation Round. They’re enjoying a good period, very confident and very solid defensively. We need to try and put them under pressure and take away some of that certainty…”

What do Parma need to do to get back some solidity in defence?

“We need to find some defensive solidity, but also some more quality going forward. We need to create more, take more of the opportunities we get, and be well-organised for the full 90 minutes. Sassuolo have their gameplan, they all play it well; it’s a team who attack vertically and in numbers, and is very strong in one-on-one situations. It’ll be a competitive game across the pitch and we need to show we are ready to fight and earn a positive result…”