After a poor start to the season, the Friulani saved their season with a run of decent results. However, a penalty from Rodrigo de Paul saved them from an upsetting defeat to Genoa on Saturday.
“The deadlock was broken by a fantastic goal from Pandev and I think when you see a goal created out of nowhere like that, you can only tip your hat and applaud,” the coach told DAZN.
“Up until the final minutes, we felt like we were leaving here having dropped two points, but the chances at the end for Genoa made us feel perhaps happier with the draw.
“Those last 90 seconds or so did leave a bitter taste in the mouth, as we almost threw it all away.”
In addition to the Argentine, Roberto Pereyra put another impressive performance against Genoa.
“Pereyra has that football intelligence to understand various moments of the game, when to drop between the lines, when to push up or go wide. He has that sensibility and has to be allowed the freedom to exploit the spaces that open up.”
Despite a run of 10 unbeaten matches, Gotti doesn’t think his side have changed too much.
“To be honest, I don’t think we have changed that much. Udinese had some very good games, we were flattened by the first wave of COVID and that damaged us right at the start of the season.
“There were a few games we deserved to lose, but overall I feel like in the first half of the campaign, we deserved better results than the ones we actually ended up with.
“In the second half of the season, it feels more like we are getting the results we always deserved.”
Asked about Udinese and De Paul’s future, Gotti said: “The future depends on the so-called important players in this squad and what the club decides to do. I realise the transfer market isn’t as lucrative as it was in the past.
“De Paul has been here for five years, every time he gets his head down and works harder than ever before. We’ll eventually sit down and work out a common strategy.
“He is mentally so strong, as he goes on international duty with Argentina, sharing a locker room with players from Barcelona, Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain, yet every time he comes back here to Udine and works harder than anyone. You couldn’t blame him for being tempted.
“Alongside the growth of the player, which everyone has been able to witness on the pitch, I also saw De Paul grow as a person over the last two years.
“He has this leadership within the squad that comes from a place of positivity. There are different ways to be a leader, some are authoritarian, but he has this sort of halo of positivity that spreads out and envelops everyone around him.”