Sarri mum on lineup ahead of Coppa Italia clash

Maurizio Sarri kept his cards close to the vest regarding the XI in the presser ahead of the Coppa Italia tilt against Roma: “I expect a very difficult game, you just need to look at Roma’s results on the road to have proof of that. They conceded little and score as much as at home. They are a quality team. We would lose sight of reality if we thought we are not going to have some challenging moments against them.”

“I will decide the XI tomorrow. I have not made a decision about anything, not even about scheme and it is normal considering the tight schedule. It will be important to be ordinate and balanced. We had a tactical practice today. You can evaluate a player or two, but then games can be unpredictable so you can not make plans involving five or six members. The message has to be that tomorrow’s match is the most important one, then from Thursday on the Napoli bout will be that.”

On Juan Cuadrado and Alex Sandro: “Cuadrado did not have the flu today, but we decided to keep him in the gym because it is cold. Sandro’s injury is nothing serious, but he is day-to-day. Adrien Rabiot suffered a pair of knocks in the last game, his availability will be assessed tomorrow.”

On the defence: “Matthijs De Ligt is playing on the right-hand side and Leonardo Bonucci on the left one because we had started that solution with Merih Demiral and Bonucci felt comfortable there, so we carried on with that.”

On the rotation: “I like to think that a squad always has some upside. We have yet to decide about the use of Cristiano Ronaldo, if he is fine he can play three games in a row, he has not in a long time, but he has to feel in the right conditions to do it. He could not last week because he was sick, I will talk to him tomorrow to see if he has recovered fully.”

On the opponent: “Edin Dzeko is hard to replace, Nikola Kalinic has had some down moments but his movements are very dangerous and he is a complete player and he can make a difference in a single game.”

On Danilo: “He is a very reliable player and he rarely flunks a game, simply in some he is flashier than in others. He has a similar level of performances on the left wing, he is charismatic and an important part of the locker room.”

On Gonzalo Higuain: “He is a strong an important player and he is having an excellent season. We do not play all our forwards all the time merely for balance reasons. He has maybe different traits at this point of his career: he does not stay as much in the box as in the past, but he makes the squad play well.”

On Emre Can and Federico Bernardeschi being linked to other teams: “I have not been notified of these situations and I do not care about the transfer market. Unless the management tells me the opposite, they are at my disposal.”

On Douglas Costa: “He is not in peak condition but he is practicing consistently. He is at risk of suffering muscular injuries and we have avoided some loads with him.”

Matthijs De Ligt instead talked to Italian newspaper Tuttosport, addressing his slow start. “If I was a fan, I would have been angry too looking at some of my mistakes too, but you can not focus on that as a player. The only thing that matters is making process and I feel better in each game. I have improved a lot over the last six months. Playing alongside Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini allows me to make a ton of experience, I can learn a lot from them.”

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