Roberto De Zerbi aims for ‘a place in Europe’ with Sassuolo, praises Domenico Berardi and claims he 'wouldn't sign for a fourth place’ in Serie A.
The Neroverdi, who finished eight in Serie A last term, are unbeaten in seven League matches so far and sit two points behind leaders Milan in the table.
“I have no problem declaring my ambitions,” De Zerbi told La Repubblica. “If we finished last season at eight in Serie A, we want to win a place in Europe this time.
“Sassuolo are still improving, but they need at least one of the first seven make a mistake this season, because they are stronger.
“Let’s just say I won’t sign for anything, not even for fourth place. Because I would take away all the fun of a season to decipher.
“Without the fans, it’s like fighting with your bare hands when you are used to a gun fight.”
Manuel Locatelli, Jeremie Boga, Fillip Djuricic, Francisco Caputo have all stood out for the Neroverdi, but the coach praised 26-year-old Domenico Berardi for ‘going against the rule’.
“His case is understandable only by knowing the person well,” De Zerbi said. “He’s genuine, aware of his strength but also of the fact that it’s the environment that gives him the strength.
“His friends, his loved ones. Domenico is shocking, because we are used to a world where everyone wants to climb higher, shine more and earn more.
“His happiness to stay at Sassuolo goes against that rule.”
De Zerbi admitted he could stay at Sassuolo even if the team doesn’t secure a place in Europe this season and claimed the club has yet to reach its full potential.
“Without Europe, the cycle of this group would be over and next year we would start from a new beginning,” De Zerbi continued. “Look, it’s absolutely not certain that I’m leaving, on the contrary.
“I could find it very stimulating to play in Europe with Sassuolo, or maybe even start a new cycle.
“Do you want the truth? Sassuolo are still at 60 per cent of their potential.”