Sassuolo coach Roberto De Zerbi must make changes due to fatigue but wants to build on the performance against Bologna, as the Neroverdi travel to Lazio ‘to take as many points as possible’.
Sassuolo are on form with three consecutive wins but coach De Zerbi feels the 2-1 win against Bologna weighed a lot on his players and he has yet to set the team for Saturday’s match at the Olimpico.
“The team came out of the Bologna game happy because we won playing a great game against a strong team,” De Zerbi said at a press conference. “We are tired, and I haven’t decided on the formation.
“We must understand who can’t make it. They all want to come because we want to play a great game. We will try to play, go there to take as many points as possible.
“Some of the players came out battered, some will be back against Juventus on Wednesday. But there are some who can start this match, then we’ll see what we do.
“My team will enter the pitch respecting Lazio but must continue with the desire to score points.”
Despite the fatigue and the lack of time to recover between matches, De Zerbi expects to see an energetic Sassuolo and highlighted that the ball should do the work.
“I want us running, playing, not getting tired of playing because the ball doesn’t get tired. The opponents do, though.
“[We need] courage, conviction, seeing each other, imagining getting out of the Olimpico with points in our pockets.
“We will suffer, because there will be moments when the wind will blow strong and we must cling to our personal motivations but also to our teammates, trying to crown an end to the championship by giving our all.”
De Zerbi is not scared of making changes and trusts all his players to deliver and insists they must continue to build on the match against Bologna.
“I have a lot of quality in the squad. Tomorrow there will be many changes compared to the last match.”
“I think [the Bologna match] can be put as the standard to be sought after, our desire to press, play, keep up the concentration at the back.
“We conceded a shot from [Rodrigo] Palacio from 30 metres and a header on the corner. If we really want to improve, I think that the first half must be played like that more often.
“The game is gone, but it remains for us. We must take the train, go to Rome against Lazio, a great team despite the latest results. They remain second best in the championship, but we want to push ourselves in Rome too.”
De Zerbi expects to see a hungry Lazio, eager to bounce back an impress.
“They are still strong. The players know what they must do, they improve year by year and have become a top team in Italy and Europe.
“We know it, but everyone knows it.”
Sassuolo have climbed to eight in Serie A but De Zerbi knows their rivals could still surpass them in the table.
“The response is always given on the pitch, the facts and not the words. We like to see ourselves in this position, but it’s not over yet because they can come from behind and we can still maintain our place.”
Vlad Chiriches should be in the starting line-up, as well as Gregoire Defrel, two players who have been out for most of the season.
“We know his [Chiriches], like that of Defrel. We missed them during the year. There will be many absences tomorrow too but whoever is training will be able to go and score points in Rome, or at least go there to play a game using our weapons.
“Chiriches is cofirming the added value that we though he could be in the summer, the same goes for [Manuel] Locatelli.
“This is a period that must be done in a breath, without getting tired, with tension, they are all normal things.
“My concerns are to manage the squad in the best possible way. Deploy a team that knows what to do and that have the energy to run and of course limit injuries. It will matter more in this second part.
“Having everyone healthy means being able to rotate everyone, when you are missing a piece, someone will never get to rest.”
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