NEWS
Saturday February 13 2021
Gotti: 'Sarri a walking oxymoron'

Udinese coach Luca Gotti prepares to face Roma, but also goes over his career as an assistant manager to ‘living oxymoron’ Maurizio Sarri and studying Pep Guardiola.

The game with Roma kicks off on Sunday at 11.30 GMT, click here for a match preview.

“I am studying the counter-measures for a game that is not at all easy. Roma beat all the teams from the 10th place down this season and our ranking, on paper, suggests we’re in for a rough time,” Gotti told the Corriere dello Sport.

“I consider Edin Dzeko to be one of the best centre-forwards in Serie A, while Paulo Fonseca is one of the best coaches. They’ve also got players like Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Lorenzo Pellegrini and Jordan Veretout, while I didn’t know Borja Mayoral before, but he has impressed me.”

Gotti was famously promoted to the caretaker role when Igor Tudor was fired in October 2019, but despite repeatedly insisting he didn’t want the main job, he’s still there.

Before this experience, he had been assistant manager to Roberto Donadoni and then Sarri at Chelsea.

“Maurizio is a living oxymoron,” smiled Gotti. “He manages to combine extremely refined intelligence with moments of total gut instinct.

“As a professional, I’d define Sarri as a conceptual extremist. He is constantly testing your past beliefs and forcing you to update them.

“We also got along off the field, for that small part of his life that Maurizio reserves outside of football. He is ideologically left-wing, I am the opposite, yet at times we find ourselves arguing the opposite angle, finishing it all with a good laugh.”

Although Gotti has not worked with Guardiola, he did study the Manchester City boss and came to some interesting conclusions.

“The difference he pursues is not tactical, but in terms of character. He defines it ‘animism.’ He wants to make the most of his players’ potential, regardless of the result.

“Most teams have this imbalance that can lead them to score a goal, then change their attitude, or they might be dominating, concede a goal against the run of play, and let their heads drop. The inertia of the match changes and that takes over any tactical indications you might have.

“So, rather than concentrating on a 4-3-3 formation, what Guardiola does is push the team to play always as if it’s 0-0, even if they are leading by two goals.”