Club Focus – Lecce – Exclusive Luigi De Canio interview

Serie A new boys Lecce continued their build-up to the forthcoming campaign as they took part in a triangular tournament in Pisticci, a town in the southern Italian region of Basilicata. The Giallorossi recorded 1-0 wins over both the hosts and Lega C1 outfit Salernitana to emerge as winners. The tournament was particularly successful for new signing Carlos Grossmüller, who scored both the goals in the respective victories.

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The club now returns to the Via del Mare stadium in preparation for Sunday’s prestigious friendly against Spanish giants Valencia. Transfer news has been dominated by the possible return of prodigal son Javier Chevanton. The little Uruguayan had a wonderful three years at Lecce between 2001 and 2004, netting 48 times in 92 appearances. The club will look to secure his signature within the next few days. The need to strengthen the team prior to the start of the new campaign has become imperative for Coach Luigi De Canio, who seems to be relishing the challenge of life back in the top flight. Football Italiano caught up with the man from Matera to get the lowdown on his aspirations for the coming campaign.

Football Italiano: How are your pre-season preparations going, and how are your new acquisitions settling into their new surroundings?

Luigi De Canio: Our build-up to the new campaign is going well and the new arrivals have given a positive impression to the rest of the squad. All the players are showing tremendous enthusiasm for the coming season.

How is your relationship with new President Pierandrea Semeraro?

I have an excellent relationship with Mr Semeraro, as I do with the rest of my management team. We are all working hard to ensure the best for this club.

Would you anticipate more new signings before the start of the season?

We will certainly be strengthening the squad before the start of the new campaign as at the moment our team is not at a high enough level to compete in Serie A.

Has the FIGC’s decision to allow clubs to bring in only one non-EU player altered your strategy in the transfer market?

It has not had an adverse effect on our policy to bring in new players for this season but of course in the future it could be restricting.

You are about to start your 22nd year in football management. Would you say that gaining promotion with Lecce was the highlight of your managerial career?

It was a very important moment for me. I have had some wonderful memories in my career but I hope that the best is still yet to come.

What is the mood in the city with the new season just around the corner?

The feeling is one of excitement. During our pre-season training sessions many supporters have come to watch and it has given the players a real lift. I hope that our fans will back the squad throughout the coming campaign, as it is important for the tranquility within the team.

Looking at the fixture list for the new season, what would you say are the key matches for Lecce?

All the matches are important, of course, but those against the teams which have the same objectives as ours are of special significance.

Last season your home form was excellent. How important do you feel this will be in the club’s bid to stay in Serie A?

Strong home form is the foundation that all successful campaigns are built around so it will be imperative to make the Via Del Mare an intimidating place for teams to come and play.

With Serie A copying the English Premier League and breaking away to form its own organisation, would you agree that it is essential for Lecce to stay in the top-flight?

It is vitally important in order to reach our long-term objectives.

Lecce is a club that gives young players the opportunity to play at the top level. Do you feel that some of the current players in the Primavera side have a bright future ahead of them?

At the moment, myself and the rest of the youth development staff are working hard to give our players the best chance of a successful future within the game. We try to emphasise the importance of hard work if they want to play at the highest level. I have seen positive developments and we are hopeful.

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