Today was the day, the cup game. The day began and I was drawing out the tactic I had in mind for the players. After several snacks, throwing paper into the bin shots and twirling of pencils, I came to the conclusion of a 4-2-2-2, with 2 center midfielders and attacking midfielders, just behind the two strikers. Here is my tactic and the team I chose for the game and just to point out, Berardi DID feature in the game, however for future note I pointed out he is suspended for the first 3 games of the Serie A season.
The players arrived for the game and got changed, I told them the team and everyone was happy. We all had a light lunch and then we relaxed ahead of the game. Some listened to a bit of music, some meditation and some had a little banter with the other lads. It was nice seeing the team in good spirit before the game. Then it was time.
Standing on the touchline ahead of the cup match against Spezia was something special for me. I could finally do something I wanted to do, something I lived for. As the whistle blew, I bellowed, "C'mon Sassuolo!" I was ready, the players were ready and the fans were ready. The game was on and as soon as it started I could see the determination in the players eyes, they wanted to prove a point to me, to say that they should be picked week in week out. We looked sharp as soon as the game started and just 8 minutes in, Simone Zaza slotted a fantastic through ball for the young Italian, Nicola Sansone who comfortably poked the ball into the bottom right hand corner. From then Spezia had no chance, goals from Berardi and the man who made the first goal, Zaza, really killed the game off at half-time, as we went in Sassuolo 3-0 Spezia.
-Nicola Sansone celebrates as Sassuolo take the lead-
When the lads came in for half time, I said, "Brilliant keep it up, don't rest as Spezia have proven they can come back if teams rest, so ensure we keep this cushion, well done lads and keep showing the Sassuolo passion"
The team talked worked too, although Spezia did pull one back, we held on and won comfortably, we were all over them and were very unlucky not to score 2 even 3 more in the second half. I told the lads I was proud of them and we progress to the next round with our heads held high and go into the Serie A season full of confidence! Bring on the big boys!