x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Be very afraid, says Mazzarri

The Sampdoria coach Walter Mazzarri has told Catania that they should be "scared" of facing his rejuvenated side.

The Sampdoria coach Walter Mazzarri has told Catania that they should be "scared" of facing his rejuvenated side. Sampdoria have recovered from a start which saw them fail to win any of their opening seven Serie A fixtures to win three of their last five. Although they remain 14th in the table, seven places and eight points behind today's opponents, Mazzarri insists his side will be the favourites at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris.

"We know how dangerous they can be, but we also know that we are Sampdoria," he said. "We do not have to hide, it is they who have to be scared of us, of our game." As well as their resurgence in Serie A, the Blucerchiati have a perfect record in the UEFA Cup. Catania can have no complaints about their recent results either. Walter Zenga's side have won their last two matches and he returns to familiar surroundings.

Zenga played two seasons with Sampdoria after leaving Inter Milan in 1994 and one of his team-mates back then is still appearing for the Genovese club now. Claudio Bellucci, who should partner Antonio Cassano in the home side's attack, has fond memories of the 48-year-old. "Walter is a sacred figure of Italian football," he said. "I remember when I was a lad and I had the fortune of playing with him.

"For me, he was always a great source of advice. It will be a pleasure to meet him again." Meanwhile, in France, Marseille are looking to bounce back from their catastrophic loss to Lorient at the Stade Velodrome last weekend when they face Lille today. Two goals up heading into the final 14 minutes, OM imploded and lost 3-2 to fall seven points behind leaders Lyon. Lille are enjoying a decent start and are seventh, just three points behind second-placed OM following their 3-0 victory over St Etienne last weekend.

* With agencies