Saturday January 16 2021
Ranieri: 'Candreva trying to kill me!'

Claudio Ranieri explains his changes to turn the game around against Udinese, what Ernesto Torregrossa brings and his reaction to Antonio Candreva’s penalty. ‘They’re trying to kill me!’

The substitutions made the difference after Rodrigo De Paul’s opener, as Antonio Candreva converted the penalty with a Panenka chip and debutant Ernesto Torregrossa rose to meet Tommaso Augello’s cross for a 2-1 victory.

What did Ranieri think on the touchline after he saw Candreva dink the spot-kick when Samp were 1-0 down?

“I said they’re trying to kill me! I went to the team doctor and asked for a check-up!”

Before that, the Friulani had the better of the game, hitting the woodwork with De Paul, who then scored the opener too.

“De Paul is a truly complete midfielder and he is the heart and soul of Udinese, so we had hoped to give him as little service as possible, but he’s very good at escaping,” Ranieri told DAZN.

“Udinese were doing what we expected in the first half, going on the counter with pace. We were very organised, but a bit too deep with our wingers, and I didn’t want to leave Fabio Quagliarella so isolated. Unfortunately, we got very little service to him.

“I saw Udinese were controlling it too much, so the only option was to throw on two fresh strikers and mirror their tactical set-up.

“I had told the four defenders to stay back and not concede. When we moved to three at the back, I told them to stay there, so we’d push up more with the wing-backs.”

Torregrossa scored on his debut and can provide some of the aerial power Samp have been lacking.

“With Torregrossa, Quagliarella, Keita Balde and when he’s fit Manolo Gabbiadini, we have a lot of different attacking options, all of them with a great deal of quality. It’s all about ensuring balance, but Torregrossa can work with any of the other forwards, so he allows me to do different things.

“I have to say, it feels as if he’s always been with us, he settled in straight away. Torregrossa is this lovely, smiling, happy fellow and I already liked him as a player, but you need a good person behind it too, and he fulfils that.”