Sassuolo Serie A

Maxime Lopez Discusses Serie A Excellence & Sassuolo Manager Dionisi

Sassuolo midfielder Maxime Lopez sat down with Serie A ahead of Matchday 30 to speak about the role of a midfielder, the Italian top flight’s excellence, and the effect that Manager Alessio Dionisi has had on his performances.

The Midfielder’s Importance

In football, as in the rest of life, looks can be deceiving. We often celebrate physical and technical abilities, but intelligence is just as pivotal. Team success can rest on the minds of the midfielders.

“I feel that midfielders get time to play in Italy. You can see that with Lobotka, Bennacer and other similar players who play all the time. It’s true that as midfielders, we have a role that is a little more understated, because compared to more attacking players, we’ll perhaps get fewer goals and assists. When it comes to my role, I’m now a defensive midfielder, who has to orchestrate things but also be there defending and making sure the team are well-organised when we lose or have possession. There’s less limelight, but it’s a role that’s just as important as any other.”

Serie A On the Rise

Reputations can be as deceptive as looks. When Maxime Lopez came to Sassuolo from his home town Marseille in 2020 he had a distinct impression of Italian football.

“Before coming to Italy, I didn’t really have the right view of Italian football. When I arrived, I was surprised about the tactical element. It’s something we all know. Italy has long been associated with tactical play. It goes hand in hand with Italian football. There were a few too many people talking about Italian football only in terms of Catenaccio. If we look at this season, we can see the league is open. There are very few teams who really play Catenaccio, who stop and don’t know how to play. We saw that against Spezia a couple of weeks ago. They’re a long way off us in the league, but they know how to play it out from the back. The league has completely changed and it’s top-level now.”

Heightened Performances

The midfielder was signed by former coach Roberto De Zerbi but under Alessio Dionisi the 25-year-old seems to be blossoming anew – what makes him special is his ability to launch attacks: he’s 5th in Serie A for pass completion into the final third.

“What surprised me the most about Roberto De Zerbi is the sort of set-up that we work on in training to prepare for the game on Sunday. It then comes naturally to us during matches. With the arrival of Dionisi, who put his faith in me as soon as he took over, he picked me in almost every game for the whole season, so I played almost every minute.”

Watch the Full Interview With Maxime Lopez