Maran: 'Cagliari believe in Coppa'

Rolando Maran assures Cagliari believe in Coppa Italia progress just as much as Atalanta going into the Round of 16.

It kicks off on Monday at 17.30 GMT and the winners go on to face Juventus in the quarter-final.

“We have always tried to use the most competitive line-up in this tournament and we’ll do the same tomorrow,” assured the Coach in his Press conference.

“We’re without Lucas Castro, Ragnar Klavan and Alberto Cerri. Valter Birsa is available and I need to evaluate his fitness levels. The fact I already worked with Birsa at Chievo and he knows my methods is certainly an advantage.

“We’ve started the new year on the right foot and I saw the lads angry in a positive way at the defeat to Udinese that closed 2018. Atalanta are doing very well and will certainly believe they can progress in the Coppa Italia, but so do we.”

Leonardo Pavoletti was decisive for Cagliari last season, but has barely featured in recent weeks.

“Pavoletti is now in good condition and we’ve preferred not to risk him until he was fully recovered. The statistics confirm how important he is for us.”

Inevitably, Maran was asked about the bidding war between Chelsea, Napoli and Inter for midfielder Nicolò Barella.

“I am not thinking about the transfer market. Barella is with us now and he is totally dedicated to the case, so that is all I care about.”

Cagliari squad for Atalanta: Rafael, Aresti, Cragno; Andreolli, Pisacane, Ceppitelli, Faragò, Srna, Pajac, Romagna, Lella; Bradaric, Cigarini, Birsa, Barella, Padoin, Ionita, Lykogiannis; Joao Pedro, Farias, Sau, Pavoletti, Verde

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