Friday December 30 2011
Pioli on relegation and transfers

Stefano Pioli is confident Bologna can avoid relegation this season and admitted that there is likely to be some transfer activity in January.

The 46-year-old former Chievo and Palermo boss took over at the Renato Dall’Ara in early October. After an initial bright start to his tenure, the team are spending the winter break just three points above the relegation zone after suffering consecutive League defeats in December. However, Pioli is optimistic for the future, as he revealed this week.

“There is no drama. Since I have been here we have averaged 20 points for every 16 games. However, the League table is there to remind us that we have a goal to achieve of 40 points and that there is only one thing to do - be in the fight until the final week.”

Bologna are considered likely to dip into the transfer market in January, but Pioli intimated that the first objective is to sell players. Where this is assumed to be the case anyway so as to raise funds, Pioli has his own reasons.

“We have to cut the squad. I believe that maintaining an interest in 34 players is difficult for anyone, if not impossible. I could do with 10 less. No-one should have a long face [for not playing].”

Pioli was asked if this includes Robert Acquafresca, who has recently been dropped to the bench in favour of a new one-striker formation and subsequently been linked with a return to Cagliari in January.

“We lack a [tall player], but before we think about tactical solutions, we need to improve ourselves and become better at the speed of our play.

“This is true for Acquafresca as it is for the others - as soon as I arrived at the club, everyone has been outstandingly willing.

“However, now that the transfer market is open, those who feel that they will be sacrificed are asking for a transfer.”

The Coach intimated that he is looking to bring in two midfielders to boost the side’s functionality and even open up the possibility of a switch to a 3-4-1-2 formation and continued to offer some interesting comments on the striker situation.

“Goals [are a problem]. We have scored 14 in 12. Not a few, but it should be more.

“Gaston [Ramirez] has all the qualities to break through. He should not make the mistake, though, of trying to win games by himself. He knows that there are strong and justified expectations, but not every time that he has the ball does he think about the decisive action in play.”

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