October 15, 2021 3:33PM EST
Two years ago, in the last match of the season, Inter were fighting for a Champions League place; Empoli, battling to stay in Serie A. On opposing benches: Luciano Spalletti and Aurelio Andreazzoli. Competitors in the lower divisions, roommates in the coaching course, Andreazzoli was Spalletti’s loyal assistant during his adventures at Udinese and Roma. But on that day they were rivals not friends.
“We haven’t talked about that game since we bumped into each other during the post-match press conference. He’d just finished his while I was about to start mine, and in front of everyone he told me we didn’t deserve to be relegated but unfortunately we went down. We rarely meet now and when we do we don’t talk about that game. It’s too painful for me to remember” stated Andreazzoli.
A winner and a loser – but both lost their jobs after the match and after taking some time off, both came back to Serie A this summer. Spalletti in a new club while Andreazzoli returned to Empoli to complete the task.
“Our motto is on display in the dressing room “It can be done”. We must believe that we can defeat any opponent. We must believe in ourselves and in our ideas and in the work we do everyday in training, that way we can overcome every obstacle. I really hope we manage to achieve our objective this time around, which is to stay in Serie A” explained Andreazzoli.
Andreazzoli’s teams are always known for their strong mindset and attacking style. Empoli have demonstrated both qualities this season, as much in their defeats as in their victories.We’ll see his ideas put into practice against visiting Atalanta on Sunday. Andreazzoli has never beaten Gianpiero Gasperini in his career. A first win over his opposite number would be a big feather in the Empoli coach’s cap.