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The Italian job

Posted on 8 August 2008  - 12:00

Gus Poyet feels a friendly against AS Roma will provide the perfect rehearsal for what we might face at The Lane over the course of next season.

The Italian job

Gus Poyet feels a friendly against AS Roma will provide the perfect rehearsal for what we might face at The Lane over the course of next season.

The Serie A giants are expected to set up in that typical Italian style of defending deep and looking to exploit any mistakes on the counter-attack.

With our attacking style at home - only champions Manchester United scored more goals (47 to our 46) on home soil in the Barclays Premier League last season - we often encounter visiting teams happy to also defend deep, let us have the majority of possession and try to catch us out.

"They will have the Italian mentality when they defend deep, defend together and it will be tough to go forward, so that will be a test for us," said First Team coach Gus.

"We often find at home that teams defend deep, make you take the risks and then, if it's gone well for them, they start to look to come forward in the second half.

"We haven't had a test like that so far in pre-season, so this is ideal. It will be a real test of our attacking play and patience, especially if we don't score first.

"It's the perfect game before the start of the season. We're looking to play well and make sure everyone comes through it but with the full stadium, the players will be determined to win as well."

Pre-season has been successful so far with six wins and a draw in seven games and the Feyenoord Jubileum Tournament trophy in the bag.

"When you win, it gives everyone confidence and for someone like Darren Bent it's been ideal," said Gus, referring to the striker's prolific spell of 10 goals in five friendlies. "There are things we need to improve as well but that will happen. When we start playing week in, week out, I'm sure we'll get better and better.

"Juande and Marcos have been impressed with the friendlies so far especially when we've gone to places like Norwich and Orient and there is a full stadium. It's very different in Spain because you can't get the fans out for a friendly.

"Now we have our final friendly, it's even bigger and it's in front of another full house. That's important for the players, they see the supporters and it inspires them. It's what they want to see."