What sort of game are you expecting tomorrow?
“I think we’ll be up against a really good side, as the coach said. They’re so fast. We’ll need to be more focused when we’re on the ball, as we could lose it, and also when they’re in possession and we’re deep on the pitch. They have five or six incredibly fast players. It’ll be a brilliant game.”
Do you think your current run of form is down to tiredness or something else? What’s happening?
“In every high-intensity game, I’m one of the team’s best performers, so my fitness is fine. It’s normal for fine margins to come into play. There are also our opponents to bear in mind. There may be a small slip-up that leads to an opposition goal, just as one of my passes might be part of a Roma goal. Nothing is happening, I’m fine.”
Why did the coach say that you’re suffering from playing in so many games in a row?
“That goes for every player. It’s difficult as a wing-back, and this also goes for players in other positions, to have the same performance level in every game, and we do give everything that we have. That’s normal. Then there are our opponents and there are moments when you might make a mistake. What matters is the way you pick yourself back up.”
Does your future depend on how the season ends?
“I wouldn’t know how to answer that. I’m going home to kiss my son as it’s his birthday today. We have such an important game tomorrow. That’s my future.”
So you’re not thinking about…
“No, no. It wouldn’t make sense. There’s still a month and a half ahead with some incredibly important games to come.”
Over the years you’ve produced your best performances in Europe. Is that more down to the type of game on a mental level or is it possibly about having more space to express yourself and does having more space to attack help you showcase your attributes and perform better?
“Maybe, that could be good analysis as there is more space in Europe. Teams are less opportunistic. In Italy, there’s more focus on tactics and how to keep it tight, while there’s more initiative in Europe. Sides think more about attacking and scoring rather than defending as a unit. Maybe that analysis is spot on.”
You’ve often said the right isn’t your ideal position, but you are right-footed. I don’t know if you’ve spoken to the coach about trying you out on the right or if he’s decided to keep you on the left. A quick tactical point based on the mistake against Inter: I felt you were a bit overzealous as you wanted to push out towards [Matteo] Darmian when he changed position and at that moment you lost the player in behind. Is that right or was the positioning unclear at the time?
“No, it’s a mistake that I’ve rarely made in the past. The mistake was wanting to attack and hurt the opposition, but they hurt me and our team instead. I was trying to anticipate a possible pass and lost half a yard that allowed [Denzel] Dumfries to send the ball into the middle. I’ll repeat: I’m sorry, but it’s a mistake. I won’t make it again. What matters is picking yourself back up, producing a top performance tomorrow and winning.
“In terms of playing down the right, my position is on the left. If there’s nobody available, it’s normal for me to play there, but my position is on the left, so that’s where I play.”
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