Claudio Gabetta says his Giovanissimi Nazionali outfit have a key year coming up not only in terms of the chase for the title but also their own development as they look to make that important step up to professional football.
With five points currently separating the young guns from high-flying Genoa at the summit of the domestic standings, anything but a win in this weekend’s home clash with Pavia would serve as a significant dent in their quest for the league championship.
Speaking to Jtv earlier this week, he began: “Genoa have a squad which is better physically prepared than ours, whereas our side is different with greater potential. But I’m convinced we have what it takes to close the gap on them.”
A 2-2 stalemate with midtable Virtus Entella brought 2015 in on a somewhat disappointing note and Gabetta was open as to why he thought his charges stumbled to a surprise draw on home soil: “The draw against Virtus Entella came after our exploits in the Trofeo Tappari where our players may have been suffering from fatigue."
Despite the dropped points in the league, the 51-year-old praised his Giovanissimi Nazionali, who beat Novara 3-0 in the final following a strong cup run, for the way they performed throughout the competition.
“In the Trofeo Tappari, we gave all the lads an opportunity to get minutes under their belts, and they gave a good account of themselves throughout the competition. During the six matches, they played really well right up until the final where we beat Novara. I’m pleased because everyone was able to play a part in the success."
With last weekend’s hard-fought 1-0 triumph away at Pro Patria signalling a return to winning ways, the Tortona-born tactician is backing his boys to keep up the good work as the season wears on.
“The lads played well on a difficult pitch in last Sunday’s encounter with Pro Patria. It’s a group that, in the short term and during the coming months, will provide a lot of satisfaction for the club.”
For Gabetta the aims are clear as the 2014/15 season moves into its pivotal stage, with the personal development of these players high on the agenda as they look to fulfill the dreams of millions of kids around the globe by making the step up to a professional level.
“Our aim is to help these guys grow and progress. For us as coaches, it’s great seeing the likes of Vitale, Romagna and Mattiello in and around the first team, whilst Coccolo and Muratore are part of Grosso’s Primavera. There are also many 16-year-olds in the Allievi Nazionali when normally the majority of them are 17.”
He concluded: “This year, more than ever, the club is pushing its philosophy of nurturing these kids up until the point where we finally see them plying their trades in Serie A – which for us is the ultimate dream. But first, I hope many of my lads will make the step up to the Allievi in June.”