Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Guidolin prepared for Genoa dogfight

Udinese manager Francesco Guidolin said he is not focused on a personal milestone for him as his team prepare to face Genoa on Sunday.

Guidolin will take charge of his 478th match this weekend, making him the 10th most experienced manager in Serie A history.

But with Udinese trying to finish third and qualify for the UEFA Champions League, the 56-year-old is not focused on the landmark.

“Of course I’m pleased I’m among the most experienced top 10 head coaches in Serie A, I’m pleased but now I’m focused on the match, I’ll think about it when the season will be over, it will gratifying in the future,” he said.

“If now I am among the first 10 head coaches in Italy it’s very important, but the first thing I think of is that I’m getting old and that I’ve started very young. I’m sorry but I have other things in mind right now, I’m not thinking at myself.”

Sitting just three points clear of the relegation zone, Genoa are embroiled in a relegation fight.

With Udinese vying for third spot and Genoa desperately trying to avoid relegation to Serie B, Guidolin knows there is plenty at stake for both clubs.

“The team understand the importance of this match and obviously the importance of the moment, we know that everything is still open, both for a place for Europa League and the fight for the third place,” he said.

“We know we will face a team that need some more points and we know we will face a team that started this season with other aims in mind that trying to keep safe from the relegation zone, because they’re a team with a lot of strong players and therefore they’re dangerous, there’s a lot of quality in this Genoa side.”

Antonio Di Natalie has played a leading role for Udinese this season, bagging 21 league goals but it is his work rate that Guidolin values at the business end of the season.

The former Parma boss is hoping Di Natalie can continue his good form.

“I only hope tomorrow he will be in good form as he’s been over these last days and weeks,” Guidolin said.

“He’s played almost all the games this season, I managed to make him rest some 15 minutes sometimes, but watching him chasing after an opponent to gain a corner kick it’s something that drives and motivates the whole team.

“It’s a strong signal of what an extraordinary a player he is, he has talent but he’s very generous too.”

As the battle for the final automatic Champions League spot intensifies, Napoli occupies third spot ahead of Udinese on goal difference.

And Guidolin believes Napoli’s ability to get results in important fixtures makes them favourites to secure the all-important place on the table.

“I’ve already said that, I think Napoli are the favourites for third place and I’m not saying it to put some pressure on the others, they’re the favourite because they’re a team built to try and get important results this season, that’s all,” he said.


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