NEWS
Saturday August 24 2019
Di Francesco: 'Samp must hurt Lazio'

Eusebio Di Francesco wants Sampdoria to “focus on vertical passing lines and hurting the opposition” when they host Lazio, but has some fitness concerns.

Their Serie A campaign kicks off on Sunday at 19.45 UK time (18.45 GMT), click here for a match preview.

“I am proud and happy to have made this choice and convinced we’ll put in a great performance,” said the new Coach in his Press conference.

“I’m optimistic with what we’ve seen so far. The transfer window is still open, and reinforcements would be welcome, but for today it’s important to focus on who will play this weekend.

“Facing a side like Lazio in the opening round is difficult, especially as they have made very few changes this summer and that gives them an advantage. They have very few weaknesses and we must focus on our qualities, where we can hurt them. What I want from my team is to push forward, vertical passing lines and hurt the opposition.

“I have a pretty clear idea of my starting XI and I’ve seen improvements in terms of fitness lately. Jakub Jankto is not at his best, but has recovered from that calf injury, so we’ll see tomorrow whether he starts.”

Sampdoria can always rely on last season’s Capocannoniere Fabio Quagliarella.

“He is beyond reproach on a technical level. I hear people say he doesn’t move as well in a 4-3-3, but he is entirely at our disposal and I am convinced he’ll score many goals this season too. Naturally, he’s not at full match fitness yet.

“Gaston Ramirez had a few fitness issues over the last few days and he too will need to be evaluated tomorrow. I have alternatives at my disposal, other than Manolo Gabbiadini.”

The last few days have been eventful at Sampdoria, because President Massimo Ferrero released a letter of intent signed by Gianluca Vialli, confirming they are in advanced negotiations for a takeover worth a reported €100-120m.

“I wanted clarity and we got that, but the important thing is that throughout the summer we were able to concentrate on the pitch, both staff and players.

“I saw a picture of Vialli in the paper yesterday and thought he was our new striker!”