Saturday March 2 2019
Pioli: 'Another exciting Atalanta-Fiorentina'

Stefano Pioli expects “another very exciting match with two teams going all out for the victory” between Fiorentina and Atalanta, but thoughts inevitably go to Davide Astori.

It kicks off on Sunday at 17.00 GMT, click here for a match preview.

“These are two teams who know each other well by now,” the Coach told Viola Channel, just days after their 3-3 Coppa Italia semi-final thriller.

“Both Atalanta and Fiorentina like to take an attacking approach, so we have to expect another very exciting match with two teams going all out for victory.

“It’ll be an important game for our season, as a positive result would mean a great deal to our standing.”

Not only are they battling for a top six finish in Serie A, they could also get Europa League qualification by winning the Coppa Italia, although Milan and Lazio are the other semi-finalists.

Fiorentina are certainly not dull, as their last two games have ended 3-3 with Inter and Atalanta.

“The team is in good shape and the fact this is such a young squad aids the recovery process,” continued Pioli.

“It’s inevitable there will be some changes in the third big game in a week, but the important thing is to be ready on a psychological level. There were so many turnarounds over the last few games, it’ll be crucial to interpret the transitions well, both positive and negative.

“We’ve achieved nothing yet and the next four or five games will be decisive for our future, as we face Atalanta, Lazio, Torino and Roma. Our opponents are very strong, but we too have proved we’ve got quality and can bring home positive results.”

This is a very special weekend in Serie A, with all games interrupted at the 13th minute to remember Astori a year on from his death, aged just 31.

Fiorentina will hold a memorial service for their captain on Monday, the first anniversary of the tragedy.

“It’s still strange talking about Davide as if he wasn’t here… only those inside this group can understand. We miss Davide a great deal, but at the same time, he is always with us. We feel his presence, because he is the reference point in everything we do.

“He left us his example of calm, respect, fairness, and I hope that this will continue to thrive forever. It is right that people around Serie A stop to remrember Davide and it’s wonderful to see how many admired him as a man, even more than as a player.

“It’s going to be a difficult week for us. On Monday we’ll all go to San Pellegrino to visit Davide.”

The fixture list happened to put Fiorentina in Bergamo on Sunday, close to Astori’s home town and where he now lies at rest.

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