Pazienza feels Udinese match a tough battle

Bologna midfielder Michele Pazienza is keen to exploit the fact panicking Udinese will be treating Saturday night's Serie A meeting at the Stadio Renato Dall'Ara like an early cup final.


The struggling Bianconeri have lost four games in a row and lie 15th in the table, only three points clear of the relegation zone and just two places above their weekend hosts.

Bologna, meanwhile, have crawled out of the bottom three using the points ground out from three straight draws under the supervision of new coach Davide Ballardini.

Pazienza, who was particularly relieved to see Bologna force a 1-1 draw at Sampdoria last time out, is determined not to waste a gilt-edged opportunity for his club to move away from danger while dragging Udinese further into the mire.

He told the Corriere dello Sport: "The last three draws have been good results, and it was an especially tough game in Genoa on Sunday. It was difficult, against a squad in good form.

"Salvaging the draw right at the end was crucial for our league placing, but now we have to look forward to Saturday.

"Udinese will require our maximum attention, they're a club with great resources and they will come to Bologna with the attitude that they're playing in a cup final. We'll have to treat the game the same way.

"Let's not leave any inviting spaces open for our opponents, instead working more on dominating the midfield."

The Rossoblu will be without suspended midfielder Panagiotis Kone and injured full-back Marek Cech.

Their opponents have fitness doubts over defender Maurizio Domizzi and midfielder Jadson, with goalkeeper Francesco Benussi already ruled out.

Udinese boss Francesco Guidolin would be the first to admit that he spends every season worrying about relegation until mathematical survival has been secured, and he is more anxious than ever this year with the Zebrette tumbling haplessly down the table.

Following Sunday's 1-0 defeat at Parma, he told the Gazzetta dello Sport: "Our goal now is to recover point by point.

"We need to improve significantly now that we know we are embroiled in the struggle to avoid relegation.

"It will not be easy, seeing as we have never been in this position before.

"It is clear that we are worried about the league table but the team have the right spirit to get out of this slump."

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