Beppe Iachini makes his debut on the Empoli bench in a relegation dogfight with fellow strugglers Udinese. “We can’t just be pretty to watch.”
It kicks off at 14.00 GMT, click here for a match preview.
The Coach was drafted in somewhat surprisingly this week after the dismissal of Aurelio Andreazzoli, who had masterminded their promotion as Serie B title winners.
“I am trying to evaluate the general level of the squad. This game is going to be important, but not decisive, and I expect the maximum effort from my players.
“I believe every match has several individual games within it, so those who come off the bench are just as important as the starting XI. They can change the game and are valuable figures.”
Andreazzoli had earned many compliments for Empoli’s style of football, so is Iachini going to transform it?
“We haven’t had many training sessions and I don’t have a magic wand, but I do hope to see some of the things we’ve worked on. The break for international duty will give us the opportunity to work on the details that make the difference at this level.
“I think this squad can play with three or four at the back, as we have attacking midfielders, strong runners on the wings and many situations that we can adapt to. Being versatile is a big advantage, because Serie A has changed in recent years and the most important thing is to have the superiority in various areas of the pitch.
“The crucial issue now is that we cannot afford to just be pretty to watch. We need to go out there and pick up points, so we can make the fans and club happy.
“We must still be a team with a recognisable identity and the right organisation in both attacking and defending. I know that because I was a defensive midfielder who broke up the play, people assume as a Coach my teams will just try to stop the opposition playing, but that’s not true.”
Empoli are up against Udinese, whose Coach Julio Velazquez is at risk after picking up one point from the last six games.
“Udinese have quality as well as strong physicality and really like to attack you. They started out with a four-man defence, but are now using three at the back and are dangerous on the counter.”
Empoli squad for Udinese: Fulignati, Provedel, Terracciano; Antonelli, Di Lorenzo, Maietta, Marcjanik, Pasqual, Rasmussen, Silvestre, Untersee, Veseli; Acquah, Bennacer, Brighi, Papezzi, Krunic, Lollo, Traore, Ucan, Zajc; Caputo, Jakupovic, La Gumina, Mraz