Francesco Guidolin is glad Udinese’s Coppa Italia “dream continues” and reveals why he had to replace Antonio Di Natale.
The Friulani beat Fiorentina 2-1 in the first leg of the semi-final this evening with Di Natale and Luis Muriel goals.
“The dream continues, even if everything is still open and in the balance. I liked my team, but I also really liked Fiorentina. I think they, Juventus and Roma play the best football in Italy,” the Coach told Rai Sport.
“We know it will be tough, but we’re still cradling that dream. I don’t know if we will get there, but we will certainly try.”
Udinese have only ever reached the Coppa Italia Final once in the opening edition back in 1922.
Di Natale scored his first goal from open play since September, but was substituted at half-time after his furious protests. Replays suggest he was fouled in the build-up to the Fiorentina goal.
“I had to replace Di Natale, as I was afraid he’d leave us down to 10 men, because he was very, very irritable,” revealed Guidolin.
Muriel was surprisingly on the bench, but as a late substitute made a big difference with the winning goal.
“I always tell the lads, many of whom are young and want to do as much as possible, that quality is more important than quantity.
“I told my squad that Fiorentina are a stronger team, but if I could keep hold of this group of players for two years then we’d achieve so much. Fiorentina are undoubtedly strong with quality, experience and different projects. We’re still in it and will play our game in Florence.
“I am in love with this team and these players, so I am proud to lead them day by day towards a great objective. While they are here, though, they must have the Udinese jersey glued to them, care for the club and fight for these colours. If they are to achieve something in future, then they will learn it here first.”
Think you know your Italian football? Share your knowledge, tips and comments to win cash prizes in OLBG's tipster competition - £11,000 to be won monthly!