Vincenzo Montella was livid with the referee and VAR after Fiorentina’s controversial 4-3 defeat to Napoli. “I can’t do it. I’m sorry. I just can’t.”
It was an exhilarating match, but also a controversial one with two dubious penalties awarded and one late appeal by Franck Ribery.
“I thank the lads, the fans and the President, who have given us incredible energy. It’s a pity about the result, some things could be discussed to the end of time, but others you just cannot understand. Why do we have to complicate our lives?” a visibly furious Montella told Sky Sport Italia.
The biggest moment of contention was the penalty awarded for what appeared to be a Dries Mertens dive.
“Mertens simulated, why can five people not look at the footage and see? Enough now talking about Federico Chiesa being a diver, because we’ve absolutely had enough of it.
“I keep the intensity, the performance, the enthusiasm, the courage shown by these young players and today I am proud of their performance. It’s disappointing at a thoroughly undeserved defeat.
“A point wouldn’t have changed much, but there is anger. There really is anger, because a mistake can happen, but reasoning that these are penalties and others aren’t, no. I can’t do it. I’m sorry.
“The referee said he saw a foul on Mertens was clear. But VAR is there, so why not go and look at it? I didn’t show a lack of respect to the referee, I was booked because when Ribery went down, I unknowingly ran out of my technical area. Maybe I just wanted to take the penalty!
“Ironically, you accept errors more when VAR isn’t there. I’ve accepted far worse errors in my career as a player because it’s a mistake, it can happen, but I cannot understand why VAR did not intervene.
“With handball, I don’t understand the rule, but it’s there, so we have to abide by it. I might not agree with it, but it’s there. The Mertens one, I cannot understand it at all. I think tomorrow when I watch it back, I’ll be even angrier than I am now.”
It was the youngest Fiorentina starting XI since Opta began gathering statistics in 1994, but they took the game to Napoli.
“We prepared all week, I saw the players focused, confident and we knew that pressing Napoli high would lead to risks, but we have to take this courage and run some risks. We’ll work on the errors, but I loved the performance and we need to fire up the crowd with an attitude like that.
“This performance shows that we can work this way, we can have this approach and we can get the details sorted in time.”