Serie A TIM


"Bologna are fearless, if we’re to win we’ll need to be at our best." Luciano Spalletti was clear in his approach when addressing the media ahead of Thursday’s match.

"We need to win in order to keep heading in the right direction and make what we’ve done so far be worth it. We’ll need to put in our best performance, it won’t be easy because we’re facing a Bologna side who bear the grit of their coach.

"Walter Sabatini helped put this squad together; now they’ve got a well-rounded group of players. They did well against Milan despite being two men down; this is proof they believe in what they’re doing and that they’re tough. We’ll need to be firing on all cylinders in order to come out on top here."

Does the fact that Milan will have played before Napoli put you under greater pressure, or will it spur you on?

"It won’t put pressure on us; it’ll spur us on. Regardless of what results other teams get we’ve got to give the best account of ourselves. We’ve got to focus on what we do and believe in ourselves.

"I was neither sarcastic nor disrespectful. I was just expressing my opinion. But if my way of expressing myself has been misunderstood, I’ll take more care next time. I certainly didn't want to offend Davide Massa. In the future I'll be clearer when speaking to referees, in this case I was congratulating him."

Do you think coaches should have at least one opportunity to ask for VAR to intervene in a game?

"That could be an interesting idea, but it needs further thinking. Certainly if clubs had a specialist on hand such as an ex-referee they would be useful to call upon. To be perfectly honest I’m not sure what would be the fairest way of doing things; maybe with the help of an additional camera."

In light of this next run of games in a short space of time, do you envisage more squad rotation?

"We’ll definitely take a look at how things stand, as we’ll be playing every three days, but the approach won’t waver; that of giving minutes to the majority of the squad. We seek to average out the workload across the squad and make things more difficult for our opponents by fielding players who have been well-rested.

“In order to do this I’ll need to have all my players available, while also bearing in mind the fact that we can make five substitutions. On many occasions teams win games because of the impact that substitutes have on proceedings.

"We’re on a veritable rollercoaster; we’ve got many matches in a short space of time but this can drive us on. It’s not just Napoli who are subjected to his, but also other clubs. We need to send out the right messages to the players so that they’re always going hell for leather regardless of how difficult things are.

"Our club deserves a lot of credit for putting such a great squad together in recent years. We’ve got strength in depth which allows us to always be within a shout of winning things. I’ll keep making rotations, and that will probably become the standard approach moving forward."

(Photo LaPresse)