Sunday January 5 2020
Juric: 'Pazzini extraordinary'

Ivan Juric praised Giampaolo Pazzini for his hard-working performance as Hellas Verona beat SPAL. “We put together this team using logic.”

Hellas conquered the Stadio Paolo Mazza 2-0 thanks to Giampaolo Pazzini and Mariusz Stepinski goals in each half, while SPAL had Nenad Tomovic sent off after 38 minutes.

“It was a long break and we started with great determination, could’ve scored more than one goal. SPAL changed system and balanced things out, but then the red card changed the game again and we should’ve done better against 10 men,” the coach told Sky Sport Italia.

In his first Serie A start for almost two years, 35-year-old Pazzini was still on target along with Mariusz Stepinski.

“Pazzini had an extraordinary game, helping out in defence, setting up teammates, getting chances and scoring a goal. Pazzo was excellent.

“In recent years, he never pushed too hard in training because he didn’t want to over-do it, but we changed his working schedule with the fitness staff and is doing far better now.”

Verona were promoted from Serie B via the play-offs, but Juric took over in the summer and has done remarkably well with this squad.

“I took in some players who hadn’t played to the best of their abilities in recent years, while we had others we thought could deliver in Serie A after the promotion campaign.

“We could not afford much of a splash on the market, but we put together a team using logic and trying to find specific elements we needed.”

Juric’s next match will be against his old club Genoa, who are currently bottom of the table and on their third coach in five months.

“I loved Genoa and was loved by those fans even when I was doing really badly. I will admit, I made a lot of mistakes there last time and was too involved emotionally, as I spent nine years there as a player too, so it meant too much to me.”

Juric had famously been forced to leave a press conference in tears when Genoa were at risk of relegation last season.

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