Sarri previews the Sassuolo game

Coach Maurizio Sarri opened the presser before the Sassuolo game with some injury updates: “Alex Sandro practiced fully yesterday so he is fine medically, we will evaluate his form. Federico Bernardeschi is okay and he is very useful for his defensive work. He has great technical skills, that is why we want more from him.”

On Cristiano Ronaldo and the attack: “Those who have three bad strikers are in trouble, not us. Cristiano is an immense resource, he has to improve from a conditioning standpoint, but that is normal. All three have huge potential, there are heavy expectations on them. Ronaldo practiced well yesterday and he is available. He is accustomed to scoring so he always gets a bit anxious when he does not, it goes for him like for every forward. I am happy for his eagerness to hit the net though. He is different from everybody else. Our players proved that they can deliver when they accept the situation, there are no issues on that front. His problem has been explained very clearly, it could not generate any tension.”

On Emre Can: “He might play because he can not do that in Europe. If the conditions are right, he can be deployed like it happened in Lecce. We decide based on how much the midfielders can do what we ask them, based on their skillsets. Those assessments can change every six months. If I went in that direction, it was because I thought the other adapted more quickly to my demands.”

On Andrea Barzagli: “He is important and can teach a lot in terms of individual and collective tactic, but we can not work a lot on the pitch because we play every three days. Matthijs De Ligt can get something interesting even out of 15-minute video session with him. Beyond that, it is evident that he is getting used to how to play in Serie A.”

On rotating the squad: “We will assess the whole team and see who needs to rest. Juan Cuadrado is fresh, Alex Sandro is recovering, then we will evaluate the centre-backs.”

On using the three top strikers together: “We have not had many chances to test that. It is problematic, you need one centre-forward and two winger to field a trident and that is not our case. It is not an easy fit because of their characteristics, yet we will pull it off in emergency situations.”

On the game: “It is a very dangerous one, we spent a lot of mental energies. Sassuolo have numbers that are superior to their position in the table. They shoot a lot on the road. Roberto De Zerbi is young but he is good, even when I was in England I said that I would bet on him to become a great coach.”

On the Balloon d’Or: “I think and hope Cristiano will win it and that De Ligt can compete for the one reserved to the youngster.s I hope Paulo Dybala will be in the running in the future. However, I do not give much value to the awards given out by the journalists.”

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