MONTREAL – With a little more than a month until their first regular-season game, the Montreal Impact staff still hopes to add “one or two quality players.”
Matteo Ferrari agrees.
Speaking to the Montreal media for the first time this year, Ferrari had some pointed words regarding the club’s transfer inactivity thus far this offseason. Time remains on the Impact’s side – Ferrari himself signed with Montreal nine days before the 2012 season kicked off – but the veteran center back and backline leader suggested that matching last season’s results could be “more difficult” – unless some reinforcements come in.
“Right now, when I think about last year’s team, I think we’re a little bit – how can I say – not as good as before,” Ferrari told reporters. “We lost key players. We haven’t replaced anybody until now. I don’t know, maybe it’s early to say something because the market is still open. But I would like to say that because I don’t want people to think that we have to do what we did last year – of course, we won – but like this, it would be more difficult.”
Montreal have parted with two leaders: new retiree Alessandro Nesta and former captain Davy Arnaud. But he also said the many remaining Montreal players “know each other better,” which reminded him of his time at Parma in the early 2000s.
In 2001-02, 20 goals by current teammate Marco Di Vaio led Parma to 10th in Serie A and an aggregate loss to Lille in the third qualifying round for the UEFA Champions League, though the team did win the Coppa Italia.
The following season, Parma lost multiple talents – including Di Vaio and future Ballon d’Or winner Fabio Cannavaro – but finished fifth in the league, admittedly with help from new signing Adrian Mutu.
“The second year we were not the same, but we did well. We did better,” Ferrari said. “That means that, in your mind, you start to think that maybe you need to do something more. I don’t know. But our team needs to improve.”
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He said the club should be thinking about the loss of some of their more experienced players. But Ferrari also recognized the positives, applauding the efforts of “competitive” president Joey Saputo to improve the team and saying new head coach Frank Klopas “brings experience.”
“I don’t want to put some bad things in the minds of our fans,” Ferrari said. “They love us and they want the best as always and it’s normal. But right now, we’re not the same. We’ll see.”