Waiting for monday night

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With three defeats in four matches, Verona's looking for a 3-points game against Parma

Richard Hough

The column of the week from Richard Hough for all the Verona-lovers speaking english

With recent defeats to Udinese, Roma and Bologna, chinks are beginning to show in the armoury as we enter the second decisive half of the season.Are recent defensive frailties and the ongoing lack of firepower up front a cause for serious concern, or just a temporary blip in an otherwise successful season? Of course, there is no disgrace in losing to a Roma side pressing for a top three finish, but the manner of the capitulation at the Olimpico, conceding three goals in ten calamitous first half minutes, was enough to set some alarm bells ringing.Against Udinese, it was clear that Juric, for perhaps the first time since he took over in June 2019, got his tactics and line-up all wrong.  The absence of a midfield ‘regista’ in the Ilic or Veloso mould; Barak being employed a little deeper to fill that hole in the centre of midfield; and the decision to employ both Lasagna and Kalinic, were all, with hindsight, catastrophic tactical errors. It was quite possibly the worst forty-five minutes of the Juric era, and it was only a sequence of heroic saves by Marco Silvestri that kept Verona in the game.As you would expect, Juric addressed the problem at half-time. Ilić came on for Lasagna, allowing Barak to press further up the field, and some much-needed order was restored to Verona’s midfield. Despite a vastly improved second half performance, Hellas conceded two late goals, gifting Udinese the points.The first goal, in particular, was calamitous. Di Marco got himself in a tangle trying to deal with Deulofeu on the flank, whose cross was parried into the net in an uncharacteristic blunder by Silvestri. In truth, it wasn’t the first time that Di Marco has looked vulnerable in this type of situation, but at least against Napoli he redeemed himself with a fine goal.The second Udinese goal also came from a defensive lapse – a misdirected clearance by Magnani that Udinese exploited to the maximum, with Di Marco once again looking flat-footed as sought to stifle the Udinese counter.It would be wrong to criticise Silvestri for either goal, particularly after his first half heroics, but these are the kind of defensive lapses that had all but vanished from Juric’s Verona. To see them creeping back now is clearly a cause for some concern.Having prematurely achieved much of what they set out to do this season, it is possible that a touch of complacency has crept into Verona’s game. Players who made a massive impact in the first half of the season – Zaccagni, Silvestri and Dimarco in particular, have gone off the boil slightly, perhaps understandable given how much they have already given this season.  Against Parma on Monday night Zaccagni and Faraoni are both suspended and Juric will once again have to reshuffle his pack. More precisely, he will hope to restore a degree of solidity to Verona’s trademark three-man defence, restore order and equilibrium in the midfield and, finally, unleash a striker who can be relied upon to find the net!

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