Catania vow not to sell

Catania face Roma with Sergio Gasparin well aware they must keep their star men to maintain their push for Europe.

Last Updated: 12/01/13 at 10:57

Francesco Lodi: AC Milan target

Francesco Lodi: AC Milan target

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Catania sporting director Sergio Gasparin knows the club must hold on to their best players if they are to maintain an unlikely push for Europe.

AC Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani confirmed having a bid rejected for Catania's influential midfielder Francesco Lodi, with goalkeeper Mariano Andujar and attacking midfielder Alejandro Lopez also highly fancied on the mainland.

Catania head coach Rolando Maran needs to iron out a consistent run of results if the Elefanti are to consolidate a top-half finish, and Gasparin hopes more even-handed treatment from the officials will help the cause.

He told the Corriere dello Sport: "I won't name the clubs that are after our players, like Lodi, I will only say definitively that none of our best players will leave in January. Not Lodi, not any important player.

"It wasn't a good first half of the season for us in terms of refereeing decisions. In the Juventus game, and against Pescara and Inter Milan, we fell foul of childish errors from referees."

The reverse fixture proved to be one of the most exciting games of the first half of the season, with Roma coming from behind twice to salvage a point through Nico Lopez's last-gasp equaliser, although there were suspicions of offside.

"We will not be the favourites," Gasparin added. "All I want is for everyone to be talking about football and not the referees at the end of the game, that's what they get paid for.

"Roma are a product of their coach's preferred style of play. They exploit the channels and are excellent going forward. Roma are a fine team that must be faced with extreme caution."

Returning to the subject of Lodi, who is suspended, he added: "He is one of our more high-profile players but we have put a balanced squad together that can cope without certain elements. I reckon (Sergio) Almiron could play in the middle as a solution but Maran knows what he is doing."

Roma were last seen attempting to breach the Champions League places in 2012 but Zdenek Zeman's ambitions took a serious blow in the first match of the new year.

A masterclass from Napoli's Uruguayan striker Edinson Cavani sent the capital club home with nothing to show for themselves on the back of a 4-1 defeat, but the Giallorossi are in sixth place and still within reach of the chasing pack.

Striker Pablo Osvaldo will not feature at the Stadio Angelo Massimino after bruising his leg against Napoli, with midfielder Miralem Pjanic serving a one-match suspension.


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