Vincenzo Montella was pleased with Fiorentina’s attitude in a “battle” to beat Dnipro 2-1 in the snow.
The victory put them three points clear at the top of Europa League Group E, as Pacos Ferreira drew 1-1 with Panurii.
“This team has taught me they very rarely betray expectations. They did very well to understand the game, which was very different to what we were accustomed to,” he said of the victory in Ukraine.
“It was a difficult opponent on a difficult pitch against a side that was unbeaten in eight at home in Europe. We were ready for battle, as this was a sporting battle on a pitch that was at the limit.”
The result was also earned amid an injury crisis that ruled out Giuseppe Rossi, Mario Gomez, Josip Ilicic and Alberto Aquilani.
“I was glad for those who haven’t had as much space this season, but proved they deserve to be part of the squad and will contribute this season.
“We wanted this victory amid all the difficulties. I like a team that won’t look for alibis or hide behind individuals. That’s the greatest success I could ask for from this side.
“Dnipro have physically strong strikers, so they were set up for crosses into the box. We barely allowed them anything and above all played well in defence.
“Neto had a difficult game in terrible conditions, but he looked secure and courageous on crosses, which was not easy in these circumstances.”
David Pizarro was sent off, though his first booking was for a harsh penalty decision.
“We were told by the referees that it’s a handling offence only if the player moves towards the ball or at least increases the size of his body. Pizarro has little arms, so I’m not sure how much he could increase that...”
Fiorentina play Lazio in Serie A on Sunday night and Montella joked about the injury crisis.
“We’ve got nobody left! At least if we lose against Lazio then we’ll know what excuse to find! That’s part of the sport, adapting to different situations.”