Primavera coach Fabio Grosso says an enthusiastic approach on the training ground is key to getting the best out of the club’s budding talents.
Three wins and a draw from their first four league encounters of the campaign place the academy’s most senior side in a strong position for a genuine title tilt and, aside from a narrow UEFA Youth League defeat to Atletico Madrid in the Spanish capital, Grosso couldn’t be happier with the positive start made by his fledglings.
Speaking exclusively to Jtv, the World Cup winner began: “There’s a lot of quality in our ranks and we always work with a great deal of passion. That’s what I try to bring across every day, because I think at their age it’s the right starting point from which to aim high.
“Results so far have been good, even though we slipped up in Madrid. Having said that, those results provide a useful way of gauging our overall progress.”
Grosso claims the main difference between domestic and European competitions at youth level lies in the willingness shown on the continent to nurture the individual rather than just chasing the result at all costs.
It is a strategy he feels the Bianconeri should continue to pursue, exposing academy prospects to various different experiences in order to mould them into well rounded human beings capable of overcoming any hurdle they may encounter.
“Many Italian teams still pick players on the cusp of the age barrier, meaning they’re more experienced.One or two years can make the difference at this stage. In Europe there’s less focus on the result and more on development as a whole. This is also our main goal: we need to develop them both as players and men in order to be able to tackle important competitions.”
As far as Europe is concerned, the 36-year-old is under no illusions of the importance of the Bianconeri’s upcoming double-header against Olympiacos.
“The two games with Olympiacos will shape our destiny. Atletico are currently on six points and we’re level with the Greeks on three. Whoever does better in the two head-to-heads will have the greater possibility of going through.”
Turning his attentions to league matters, Grosso looked ahead to Saturday’s game with Piedmont neighbours Pro Vercelli, who he believes will represent a tricky test of his youngsters’ resolve.
He concluded: “They’re a mature, physical side and it will be a difficult game, as they all are. I don’t like speaking about the others, though, because my players already know that any team we face will give their all.
“We need to at the very least match them for desire, thus enabling our qualities to shine through. We must always aim for the best, and when you wear these colours, that means trying to win every game.”