Grifo: ''We have a long road ahead of us in the cup''

Vincenzo Grifo has impressed throughout preseason and was named in the starting line-up that faced Würzburg in the first round of the DFB-Cup on Saturday. The Italian, who spent last season out on loan at Freiburg, sat down with to discuss the team's objectives for the cup, his impressions of preseason and his favoured position.

Preseason has been and gone, the first round of the cup too. What are your thoughts going into the new Bundesliga season? 

''Now is where it counts. We have a new coach, new players and a new philosophy. I've been trying as hard as I can to integrate myself in the new set-up. We have a really strong side and our preparations have gone well, despite the fact we needed extra time to get through our cup tie in Würzburg. We want to dominate matches and be successful by playing better football than our opponents. We were able to do that for 65 minutes. We don't have many players out injured, I think it's just Andrej Kramaric and Ishak Belfodil who still have to return. So overall my impression of our preseason has been very positive.''

The club's Bundesliga campaign will get underway in Frankfurt on Sunday, the same day the draw for the 2nd round of the DFB-Cup will be made. What significance does the cup have for you?

''The cup is the competition which offers the quickest route to glory. All it takes to win the title is six wins. We want to go as far as we possibly can this season. Home matches played under the floodlights are always special occasions for the players, the fans and the region as a whole. There's always a chance that you can beat a highly-favoured side in a one-off match, TSG have shown that again and again over the past few years in the league. We want to carry this over to the cup and do as best we can. We have a long road ahead of us.'' 

In the first round of the cup, you lined up in the false nine role. What would you say your best position is? 

''Generally I would say I feel happy playing anywhere in the final third. I enjoy playing as a number 10 because it means you have so much freedom - you can move out onto the wing for example. Playing up top is a little bit unfamiliar to me but I try my hardest to make it work. The coach spends a lot of time talking to us and setting out exactly what it is he wants us to do. In the last few years I've really worked on improving my pace, which has definitely helped me add a bit more variety to my play. I feel more confident taking on defenders in one-on-ones and playing out wide. I used to be at a disadvantage when it came to speed, but I've managed to leave that behind me. That's been hugely advantageous and, as I said, means I have a lot more to offer in terms of variety. Alfred Schreuder has placed so much trust in me and really made me feel valued. I've been enjoying training, I feel great and I'm ready for the season to get underway.''

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