Francesco Guidolin believes Udinese can end their negative streak to send AZ Alkmaar out of the Europa League tomorrow with Antonio Di Natale in the starting XI.
The Friulani lost the first leg 2-0 in Holland and were also beaten by bottom of the table Novara in Serie A at the weekend.
“I did not pay attention to the criticism. We know that we’re facing a crossroads, as at the end of this game we’ll either be in or out,” Guidolin said at his press conference.
“The first leg result favours our opponents, but we are ready to give all we’ve got to overturn the expectations. Tomorrow we’ll try with all the strength we have. We fought hard to earn our place in Europe and we’d like to stay there.
“Undoubtedly there are problems tied to injuries and bans, but this is part of a long campaign. We’ve got strength in our legs, otherwise we wouldn’t have pushed so hard in the second half against Novara.
“We must take the initiative while maintaining our balance. It’s easy to say, difficult to put into practice, but I am convinced the team can do well. We started strong in Holland, then made the mistake of going too deep.”
Guidolin denied he would go with a trident attack, but was asked whether Di Natale would make a rare start in the Europa League.
“Yes, Di Natale will play. I am 99 per cent sure Dusan Basta won’t recover in time, so I am pessimistic over his inclusion.
“The fans are important, but it is also up to the team to fire up the crowd. I have never appealed to the supporters for that kind of help, as we must earn and deserve their love. I hope there will be many people there to cheer us on, though.
“I think they have realised we are in a difficult moment where things are not going as well as they did a month ago, so being close to the lads is already a fine message.”