Felice Tufano says that his Allievi Nazionali have made significant progress in a competitive league as he prepares the players for the business end of the 2014/15 campaign.
Ahead of Sunday’s encounter against second bottom Trapani in Vinovo, the 51-year-old’s outfit currently sit top of their division, level on points with arch-rivals Torino. And a victory on home soil tomorrow could potentially see them extend their lead at the summit if the Granata were to stumble at lowly Virtus Entella.
Speaking exclusively to Jtv earlier in the week, he began: “You cannot take any match for granted in this league. It's become very competitive since the tournament changed its format and ‘weaker’ sides don’t exist anymore.
“There are teams who always stay in the contest and give you a run for your money: it’s vital we remain on top of our game if we want to win the encounters. We’ll look to tackle our meeting with Trapani to the best of our abilities, otherwise it could prove tricky.”
After beginning the season in fine form and ending 2014 on top, a stuttering start to the new year saw Tufano’s troops only win three of their first seven encounters, results which have allowed the likes of Torino and Empoli back into the title race.
But the Brescia-born tactician is not worried about his young guns faltering, merely putting it down to a bout of tiredness as he attempts to maintain their title charge up until the season’s end in May.
“It’s normal to drop a level physically after so many games. We’re managing this in the best possible way by following the matches up with recuperation sessions. Up until now, we’ve put in some good performances and have also suffered next to no injuries.
Tufano then ended his interview by looking back at the Allievi Nazionali’s Al Kass International Cup 2015 exploits in Qatar earlier this year, a tournament that, in the coach’s eyes, proved vital for his players’ ‘character development’.
He concluded: “It was an unforgettable experience because we came across challenges which will present themselves over the course of the season. The lads showed improvement up against high level opponents.
“The tournament was important with regard to our players’ character development and demonstrated how well they were able to deal with technique and tactics. These are elements that will allow our young guns to make that step up to first-team football.
“It was also a test for the work we’ve been doing in the youth academy and shows that we’ve made progress and are on the right track. Our main target is to oversee the lads as they try and fulfill their potential and we’re all working as a team to achieve this objective.”