Maresca praises recent consistency
Sampdoria midfielder Enzo Maresca has praised the new-found consistency of his team as they bid to continue their rise up the Serie A rankings when they face Udinese on Monday night.
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Samp stabilised what had been a largely inconsistent campaign with back-to-backs wins over Genoa and Bologna before battling to a hard-earned 2-2 draw against high-flying Fiorentina last weekend.
A fourth game unbeaten is there for the taking on Monday against a Udinese side who have struggled to juggle their Europa League commitments this season, and Maresca hopes the confidence gleaned from last weekend's point can help their cause.
"It was an important draw for us after two wins," Maresca said. "We are certainly getting consistent results again.
"Now we need to think about the Udinese game as that will be a fundamental encounter for us."
Strikers Maxi Lopez and Eder are close to a first-team return for Samp while Nenad Krsticic and Shkodran Mustafi serve one-match suspensions.
Udinese head into the match on the back of a 1-0 home defeat to Liverpool which finally condemned Francesco Guidolin's men to bottom place in Europa League Group A.
The European campaign has proved to be a drain on Udinese in the first half the season, with the Friulians struggling to get out of first gear for the domestic games that followed continental outings.
Guidolin nevertheless told his players they could be proud of their efforts.
He said: "We are sorry to be out of Europe because I see it as a failure, it's like we have not passed an exam. But in sport, and in life, this is the way it is. We now have to show lots of pride and dignity and leave with our heads held high."
Veteran striker Antonio Di Natale started on the bench against the Merseysiders so should be in good shape to face Sampdoria, but Maurizio Domizzi, Giampiero Pinzi and Luis Muriel are struggling for fitness.