Oddo appointed as Delneri dismissed from Udinese

Udinese have named Massimo Oddo as their new manager after dismissing Luigi Delneri following the club's poor start to the season.

Delneri saved the Serie A side from relegation before guiding them to a 13th-place finish last term but managed just four wins and eight losses this campaign.

A 1-0 defeat to Cagliari on Sunday proved to be the breaking point for the Udine-based club who are languishing in 14th place ahead of facing league-leaders Napoli on Sunday.

Udinese posted on Twitter: "Udinese Calcio can confirm that first-team head coach Luigi Delneri and assistant Giuseppe Ferazzoli have been relieved of their duties. 

"The club would like to thank Delneri and Ferazzoli for their dedication over the last 13 months and wishes them all the best for the future."

Oddo was then revealed as the new man: "We're delighted to announce that Massimo Oddo has been appointed as Udinese's new coach", with Sporting Director Manuel Gerolin welcoming the former Pescara coach: "On behalf of Udinese, I'd like to thank Gigi Delneri for his work with us over the last year.

"Massimo Oddo is an up-and-coming coach and we believe he'll do very well here at Udinese.

Oddo, meanwhile, revealed his delight, saying: "I'm delighted to have been given this opportunity. Udinese are an ambitious club with first-rate facilities. There's everything you need here to do a good job.

"Udinese have some very good individual players and promising youngsters. I promise I'll give my all here.

"For now I'm going to focus on helping these players exploit their full potential. We have some very talented youngsters. I'll see which areas we need to work on once I get out on the training ground.

"The club haven't given me any specific targets other than to work hard on implementing my football philosophy. What you see on the pitch will be the result of the ideas I have in my head.

"I'll consider all the players in the squad, including the Primavera lads. I want to have a look at everyone and exclude no one.

"To get the most out of individual players you have to function well as a team.

"I played here lots of times and always got the impression this was a very well-run club."

Donadoni: Bologna must 'bathe in humility'

Bologna manager Roberto Donadoni was pleased with his team's win over Hellas Verona but disappointed with the attitude of some of his players.

The Rossoblu came from behind to beat Verona 3-2 at the Bentegodi on Monday, their first win in five games, but Donadoni was left unsatisfied due to some complacency he spotted in his team.

“It’s an important result,” Donadoni told Sky Italia. “We knew we’d find a difficult environment. As far as what we did on the pitch we’re less satisfied because you can’t suffer like that in these games.

“We have to bathe in humility and understand that football is about sacrifice and enthusiasm, you can’t brag about beautiful things because it’s other things that get you goals. We weren’t great tonight from that point of view.

“There are some quality players who need to understand that things need to be done with aggression."

Bologna are in 10th position in the Serie A standings, only two points behind AC Milan, who are occupying seventh place.

Giampaolo revels in Samp's win over Juve

Sampdoria manager Marco Giampaolo is delighted with his side’s impressive start to the season, and in particular with Sunday’s 3-2 win over Juventus.

Daniel Zapata, Lucas Torreira, and Gianmarco Ferrari were all on target at the Marassi, as not even two late goals from Gonzalo Higuain and Paulo Dybala could save the Bianconeri.

"We have to ignore everything that is around us and focus only on our daily work," Giampaolo told Sky Sport Italia after a third consecutive victory took his side up to sixth on the Serie A standings.

"So far we have been extraordinary this season and today's result was the icing on the cake. We will enjoy the moment without going overboard.

"We were organised in the first half, allowing Juve relatively little, while after the break we had moments of good football. At the end of the day, it would have been a terrible error to throw this away."

Up next for Sampdoria is a trip to play 13th placed Bologna this coming Saturday.


Spalletti praises Icardi's killer instinct

Inter Milan boss Luciano Spalletti had praise for Mauro Icardi after the striker's two goals saw them to a 2-0 win over Atalanta.

The Argentinian striker buried two headers early in the second half to take Inter up to third in the Serie A standings and his personal tally up to 13 league goals.

"Nobody had scored against Atalanta from a set-play, but Icardi did, because he's like a raptor pouncing on its prey," Spalletti told Mediaset Premium.

"Icardi is a champion, but I am one of those coaches who think a victory is always credited to the whole team. We allowed Atalanta very little, kept it tight, recreating those attacking movements that give you the advantage when trying to score.

"Inter have their own identity and tonight played like a mature team that knows when to wait for the important moment, knows where it wants to go and how to get there."

Icardi himself was more hung up over his first-half shot that was saved by Atalanta goalkeeper Etrit Berisha, which he felt he should have scored.

"I made the most of those two great crosses," Icardi said. "I still have regrets over the first-half chance, as I should've scored that one too.

"It's an important victory because it's what we needed to do. We just had to focus on ourselves and to win."

Insigne confident in Napoli's title credentials

Napoli talisman Lorenzo Insigne says their performance in Saturday's 2-1 victory over Milan displayed why they can win the Serie A title this season.

After watching the Italian national team fail to qualify for the 2018 World Cup from the bench, the diminutive attacker moved on from the disappointment with a standout performance for the league leaders.

Insigne opened the scoring in the 33rd minute before Piotr Zielinski's second-half strike made sure Alessio Romagnoli's late goal was nothing more than a consolation for the Rossoneri.

"It was a great victory against a good side like Milan," the Italy international told Mediaset Premium. "Aside from the tactics and technique, we needed heart and grit to win this game and we'll need those elements.

"We can do great things this season, we're giving it our all and hope that by the end of the day it'll be enough [for the title]. We don't want to let the fans down."

Partenopei head coach  Maurizio Sarri felt his side were fully in control of the match against Milan, despite not being at their fluent best.

"It wasn't our sharpest performance, yet looking overall we allowed hardly anything and created eight clear scoring opportunities, so that's good in the circumstances," Sarri said.

"Our tempo dropped in the second half and we sat too deep, but despite that, we didn't allow many real chances. Almost everyone was off on international duty, so our fitness levels could not have been perfect.

"I am sorry we conceded a goal in stoppages from distance because it would've been nice to keep a clean sheet. Mario Rui did well, but right now he hasn't the minutes in his legs after such a long injury lay-off. He did very well while he had the legs."

Montella thankful for Milan faith

Milan head coach Vincenzo Montella has thanked the club's hierarchy for placing their faith in his abilities amid inconsistent results in Serie A.

Saturday's 2-1 reverse to league leaders Napoli at the Stadio San Paolo was the Rossoneri's sixth defeat of the season in 13 games, which has left them in seventh place.

Alessio Romagnoli's 90th-minute goal was nothing more than a consolation as the hosts opened up a two-goal advantage through Lorenzo Insigne and Piotr Zielinski.

After a transfer outlay of close to €200 million during the off-season, the expectations at Milan had significantly risen but the club's Chinese owners have placed their faith in Montella to turn around results in the coming weeks.

"I thank the club for giving me this support and confidence," he told Mediaset Premium after dropping 11 points off the Champions League qualification spots.

"I struggle to look at the table, but from now on we'll have a simpler fixture list and hopefully this type of performance will see us in good stead.

"Our last two defeats were against Juventus and Napoli, so of course they are ahead of us, but despite the results, we were in the games. We showed character, we are growing and it's a growth process.

"As I said, I am proud of the performances [in defeat] against Napoli, Juve, Roma and Inter, because to get to their level we need patience."

Mertens hails Sarri's tactical influence

Dries Mertens has hailed Napoli head coach Maurizio Sarri's tactical methods that has seen the winger transform into one of Europe's most prolific forwards.

Standing at 1.69m, the 30-year-old has always been considered as a talented and tricky winger, but since the arrival from Sarri as head coach, the former PSV star has scored 42 goals in 53 games playing as a centre-forward in a high-pressing 4-3-3 system.

And with 10 wins in their opening 12 league games, the Serie A leaders have now been tipped as favourites to pip Juventus to the Scudetto this season.

Mertens feels the former Empoli coach deserves all the plaudits for his tireless work-ethic that hands their starting XI a major advantage on the field of play.

"Sarri taught me football," he told Corriere dello Sport. "He is a coach I really like, well-prepared and even scientific in the way he analyses games.

"The thing I love the most about his style of football is the way he organises the phases when we are off the ball and structures the pressure we put on opponents when they've got the ball at their feet.

"It feels like he has already played the game out in his head and on the field you have an extra man."

Howedes ready for Juve debut

Benedikt Howedes says he's ready to make his Juventus debut after finally overcoming a thigh problem.

The 29-year-old Germany defender joined Juve on loan from Schalke at the start of the season but has spent the past few months battling to get fit.

He did briefly recover, but aggravated his injury in training in September and has taken longer than expected to return.

Second-placed Juventus face Sampdoria next before hosting Barcelona in the Champions League, and Howedes is looking forward to hopefully playing some part in those games.

He told the club's official website: "I'm ready, and I feel happier than ever.

"It hasn't been easy to start my adventure at a big club like Juventus with an injury, but everyone has been supportive of me these last few months and, in the meantime, I've been learning some Italian!

"But now I'm focused with getting back onto the pitch and helping my teammates, starting with the next match.

"The next game at the Marassi, against Sampdoria, will not be easy, but we are Juventus, and we want to win. 

"We have had some great results so far, and although I know that some of the players will be disappointed with the result of the Italian national team, they are all very experienced and professional so I'm sure that they will handle it.

"After Sampdoria we face Barcelona, and we know that it will be a very difficult match but we mustn't worry. We have played in two finals in three years, so we know that we can win."

Mancini brushes off talk of Italy job

Roberto Mancini says he is not considering managing the Italian national team, as his name is thrown in the ring to replace Giampiero Ventura.

Carlo Ancelotti, recently sacked by Bayern Munich, is the favourite to take the helm after Ventura failed to secure qualification for next year’s World Cup.

"Like many of my fellow countrymen, I dreamed of seeing Italy at the World Cup in Russia," Mancini told Match TV. "Seeing them crash out gave me tremendous sadness.

"I was born after 1958, the last time our team failed to qualify for the World Cup, so I didn’t know what it meant to not be there. Now I can admit it feels surreal and extremely sad.

"I am not surprised my name has been mentioned on the list, seeing as they also discussed colleagues with experience who won in various different countries.

"But I am happy at Zenit and in St Petersburg, so I am not thinking about the Nazionale. My objective is to win the Russian league title."

The Azzurri were pipped to a place at Russia 2018 by Sweden, who defeated them 1-0 in the two-legged play-offer to qualify at the expense of the four-time world champions.

"I thought the Nazionale was very unlucky," Mancini added, "especially in the second leg when they wasted a lot of chances, but football is a very strange sport.

"There are days when it’s all going against you and you can’t do anything about it. This is why we won’t see Italy in Russia next summer.

"In all national teams, there has to be a generational shift at some point, and Italy are obviously at that moment, but I think they will soon get back to being leaders in the football world because there are a lot of talented youngsters coming through."

El Shaarawy ready for Rome derby

AS Roma winger Stephan El Shaarawy is looking forward to Saturday’s hugely anticipated Serie A clash against Lazio at the Stadio Olimpico.

The Italy international found the net when the two sides met in the Coppa Italia back in April, and just one point separates the two sides in the standings ahead of the match.

"We know how important this game is not only for the players, but for the whole city," El Shaarawy said. "It’s prepared for more than a week, so it’ll be a game charged with intensity and we must get a result to give consistency to our victories.

"Scoring in the Derby della Capitale is very special. I hope to find the net again on Saturday, but as I’ve always said, the most important thing is that we win, it doesn’t matter who scores the goal.

"I netted twice in the derby and one was even a header! That doesn’t happen often. On Saturday I’d gladly score with any part of my body, just as long as Roma win.

"The support of the fans has always been fundamental for us, they really are like a 12th man. They help you to overturn any situation, fire you up and we can win any game with them behind us.

"We’ve got to keep calm and do what we know, with belief and hard work. Lazio are in good shape too, but we can have our say against anyone, as proved by the victory over Chelsea in the Champions League. My brace in that game is something I will never forget.

"A good chunk of our season depends on this match with Lazio and a victory would give us such a boost for the games that will come."