29th September 2017. By Edward Stratmann.
Going into their intriguing contest with AC Milan on the weekend, Sampdoria manager, Marco Giampaolo, spoke of how his team would need to produce their best to defeat Vincenzo Montella’s expensively assembled squad.
Having done his due diligence and in his words “hammered” his team with video analysis of how to combat the Rossoneri, Giampaolo was absolutely delighted that his team put in such a fantastic performance to dismantle their highly fancied opposition 2-0.
So pleased was the Swiss manager, in fact, that he even described the victory as the finest from his time at the helm of the Blucerchiati. “This was the best performance since I’ve been here,” he gleamed after the game. “The match was excellent from every point of view.
“I’m pleased for everybody, the players, the club and our fans. Can we compete against the big clubs? There’s still time and I’m looking for even more improvements. We were consistent throughout the whole game today, which we’re not always capable of doing.”
Key to this spectacular result was their tigerish young Uruguayan defensive midfielder, Lucas Torrerira, who hardly put a foot wrong in the statement triumph. From his position at the base of Giampaolo’s diamond midfield, the 21-year-old demonstrated precisely why he’s such a highly rated prospect, with his exertions on both sides of the ball being of the highest order.
Always tidy in the offensive side, Torreira treated the ball with customary respect and rarely wasted it, as he distributed thoughtfully whether under pressure or operating in space, as the former Pescara whizz was key in constructing their passing moves. Torreira’s ingenuitive movement notably complimented his strength in the afore, for his lateral shifts to help support the players in wide areas and clever positioning to evade the Milan attackers in the first phase of build up were crucial for Samp.
Possessing a glue like first touch and razor sharp ball control assisted him beautifully too, in a match where there were many instances when he received on the half turn to spin away from his markers to drive his side forward. In addition, the 167cm enforcer’s strength and low centre of gravity ensured he was a very tough man to outmuscle once on the ball.
Upon factoring in his awareness and anticipation, where he used head checks to gain a thorough idea of his surroundings, and Torreira proved time and time again how difficult he was to nullify.
Importantly, though, he proved very effective in neutralising his opposition too, pressing with relentless intensity and determination, blocking off the passing lanes to Milan’s attackers and chiming in with some exceptional tackles and interceptions. With Sampdoria’s pressing a constant feature in the 2-0 win, the dogged Torreira unquestionably led the way in this regard, displaying his fighting spirit and physicality emphatically.
Providing balance, leadership and plenty of heart, the spirited youngster yet again illustrated what a gem of a player he is, and why Sampdoria‘s incredible scouting network is one of the finest in Europe. Having been an ever present for Samp last season, Torreira’s impressive development under the tactically sophisticated Giampaolo continues to grow with every passing match.
Interestingly, the scout that discovered his talent, Roberto Druda, even recently compared him with PSG’s star midfielder, Marco Verratti, saying: “He lives for football. He’s incredible. He’s like Verratti,” Druda explained to Calciomercato.
“Massimo Oddo (Torreira’s coach during his time at Pescara) and many others are convinced that Torreira can be even stronger than Marco Verratti. I see him ready with the brain he has, in addition to his technical skills and potential. It is extraordinary.”
Samp certainly deserve credit for somehow managing to hold on to their prized asset last transfer window by successfully staving off attempts from the likes of Everton, AS Roma and AC Milan to acquire his services. After hearing the player himself speak enthusiastically about making the step up in class, Sampdoria’s ability to hold onto him is even more remarkable. And should see them receive a very tidy transfer fee in the future too, with something in the region of €30-€40 million being what his expected asking price would be.
While he’ll inevitably move onto bigger and better things one day, his tremendous performance vs. the Milanese powerhouse will further shine the spotlight on this extremely gifted little maestro.
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