Lecce Serie A

Gabriel Strefezza Discusses Lecce Performances & Umtiti’s Resurgence

Lecce attacker Gabriel Strefezza sat down with Serie A ahead of Matchday 22 to speak about the start of his career in Italy, the club’s performances this season and teammate Samuel Umtiti.

Career Story

He is one of Serie A’s smallest players. Just 5 foot six inches tall. But Lecce winger Strefezza makes up for his height with his heart.

“When I first came to Italy I went to Lazio and Palermo for trials. I was tested out at these teams. I wasn’t taken on by Lazio because the coach said I was too short and that I wouldn’t be useful to them. I never threw in the towel though and I always kept up my aim of making it to Serie A. My height actually became my strong point. I know that I’m small but I’m also really strong. I’m capable of playing in midfield and between the lines. I’m quick on the turn, something I’ve been good at since I was a child, and I cause trouble with my dribbling. So those are my strong points. Being diminutive gives me an advantage when taking on opponents and I never let anyone walk all over me through the fact that I’m short. That’s my strength.”

Lecce Performances

The 25-year-old Brazilian has already contributed 7 goals – helping  Marco Baroni’s men defy expectations. The league’s youngest side are nine points clear of the relegation zone.

“The gaffer Baroni has made us play fearlessly. We’re a really young Serie A side, and few of us have featured in Serie A before. He’s given us a lot of peace of mind so that we can play free from pressure. What he asks more than anything is that we keep our heads and have fun. He tells us: “Lads, when you go out on to the pitch have fun, play with a smile on your faces, have a go at the opposition, and show no fear of losing the ball or taking risks.” That’s how we’ve always approached games and we take joy from what we do.”

The Experienced Samuel Umtiti

Strefezza also praises world-class defender Samuel Umtiti for his influence on this group of newcomers. The 28-year-old Frenchman has been marshalling the Giallorossi’s back-line and breathing new life into his own career.

“He makes us youngsters feel much more confident. He’s got so much experience and he helps out the youngsters a lot in training, always offering advice. He’s now back in great shape, almost how he was at Barcelona, so he’s helping out the team even more, not just with his mindset but also his footballing contributions. It really helps us having such a player in our team, keeping us calm both on and off the pitch.”

Full Interview With Gabriel Strefezza