Rolando Maran credited Cagliari for “remaining clear-headed and showing such belief” to fight back and beat Sampdoria 4-3. "It would've been so easy to give up."
This was an incredible comeback, as the Sardinians were 3-1 down on 70 minutes, but won it 4-3 at the 97th through substitute Alberto Cerri’s header.
“It was a victory of determination. On top of the quality, as it was incredible to be 3-1 down after that performance, but the team remained clear-headed, showed such belief,” the coach told Sky Sport Italia.
“I am above all pleased that Cerri got the winner, because he’d gone through a terrible period and this rewards him for all his determination too.
“I have to congratulate the lads, because it would’ve been so easy to give up after going to 1-2 and then immediately conceding the third goal, but they kept going.
“We had Sampdoria under pressure from the very beginning, but unfortunately we knew that they allowed few chances under Claudio Ranieri and we would pay for not converting them early.
“I think meeting Samp is tough right now, but we made them run, stretched their defences, and that is also why at the end we managed to tire them out to take the lead.”
The Sardinians have secured their status as surprise of the season, sitting in joint fourth with Roma in Serie A.
“The fact we were coming off a fumbled 2-0 lead to draw 2-2 with Lecce could’ve weighed on our minds, but instead we maintained that belief and sent an important signal to ourselves. The crowd also pushed us from start to finish, ensuring we gave our absolute all,” continued Maran.
“I don’t generally like celebrating on the touchline, but I couldn’t help myself this time!”
Radja Nainggolan was again decisive, as he hit a scorcher and then provided the cross for Joao Pedro.
“Radja is incredible. Aside from the shots and crosses, he is capable of reading the game like few others. He is a reference point for the team and you just have to see the kind of player we’re dealing with here. I find it incredible he’s not in the Champions League or Belgium squad, as he is a top level player, but he’s settled perfectly into the reality of being in Cagliari.”
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