Friday February 19 2021
Meluso: 'Italiano reminds me of Zeman'

Spezia director Mauro Meluso maintains coach Vincenzo Italiano is reminiscent of Zdenek Zeman, except that ‘preventative marking was an alien concept’ to the veteran.

The game with Fiorentina kicks off at 17.30 GMT, click here for the line-ups and LIVEBLOG.

There are growing expectations around Spezia after their victories over Sassuolo and leaders Milan.

“We should forget, because wonderful things – and beating Milan is not something anyone can do, especially when they were Serie A leaders – are like the negative elements, we have to hit the reset button,” Meluso told Sky Sport Italia.

“Our position in the table is good currently, but that can change quickly and we need to keep going with the same attitude.”

The performance against Milan shot Italiano to the front pages in Italy and beyond, earning comparisons with great tacticians.

“It’s evident that we’ve always had good performances, even when the results didn’t go our way. That shows this coach works well, has a specific method and embraces meritocracy, so the players follow everything he says.

“Italiano is a fun guy to be around, he never complains. He has a contract for another year, everyone knows he has a release clause that was signed by the former owners before I arrived. We hope to continue with him for a long time.

“When I was a player, many years ago, I was fortunate enough to play with Zeman. Italiano does remind me of him, even if Zeman was a little more outlandish when attacking, whereas Italiano pays more attention to preventative marking. That was an alien concept to Zeman!”

Spezia are the only side in Serie A this season to have picked up more points against teams in the top half of the table than the bottom half.

“We have had consistent performances, which made us retain our confidence, even during difficult runs of results. Our away record is also better than at home, so that confirms our attacking approach.”