Massimo Oddo expects “an ugly battle” between Udinese and Sassuolo this evening, as they both fight to escape the danger zone.
It kicks off at 17.00 GMT, click here for a match preview.
The Friulani aren’t entirely free from the threat of relegation yet, as they sit on 33 points from 27 games, but their opponents are desperate after sliding to joint third from bottom with Crotone and SPAL.
“This is a very important match indeed and we have to win,” said Oddo in his Press conference.
“Defeat would be very damaging and we must do well to read every situation in the moment. It’s easy to talk about it in hindsight, but in football you make decisions and they’re not always right.
“I tried to keep a balanced outlook even after we won five in a row, knowing that sooner or later a difficult spell would arrive, because I know football.
“Our last four games have been against very strong opponents and we didn’t deserve to lose two of them. On other occasions, for example against Benevento, we put in horrible performances and still won.
“I expect the game against Sassuolo to be an ugly battle, so I don’t know if the purists will enjoy it. Sassuolo need points, so will allow few spaces and try to go on the counter-attack, while we mustn’t fall into their trap.”
It is no coincidence that Udinese’s dismal run started with striker Kevin Lasagna’s injury.
“Maxi Lopez and Rodrigo De Paul will start in attack, unless I change my mind… Lasagna is an important player, but it’s not as if he scored 27 goals this season. There are times when the ball won’t go in the net.
“A dip in form is also physiological and all players go through it. Antonin Barak is struggling right now because he’s not a robot, whereas before Seko Fofana was having trouble and now he’s in splendid form.”
Udinese squad for Sassuolo: Bizzarri, Borsellini, Scuffet; Ali Adnan, Danilo, Nuytinck, Samir, Stryger, Pezzella, Widmer, Zampano; Balic, Barak, Behrami, De Paul, Fofana, Hallfredsson, Ingelsson, Jankto, Pontisso; Maxi Lopez, Perica