Sunday October 20 2019
Montella: 'Italian identity at Fiorentina'

Vincenzo Montella admits Fiorentina progressed “faster than expected” and praises Rocco Commisso’s philosophy, but jokingly hopes Mario Balotelli won’t play for Brescia tomorrow.

It kicks off on Monday at 19.45 UK time (18.45 GMT), click here for a match preview.

The Viola had quite a turnaround, as after 18 Serie A rounds without a victory, they’ve now won three on the bounce.

“We’ve got a run of fixtures coming up that will tell us what we want to do going forward,” said the Coach in his Press conference.

“Brescia did very well against Juventus and Napoli, they play some of the most ‘vertical’ football in Serie A and are therefore difficult to face. After that, we’ve got Lazio, then Sassuolo, who are also competitive.

“The progress has been faster than I expected, to be honest. We changed so many players and there are some still waiting to fully bloom.”

Franck Ribery has found a new lease of life at Fiorentina, partnering Federico Chiesa in a 3-5-2 formation.

“Ribery is approaching 37 years of age, so getting him to run up and down the wing would be too tiring. In this new position, he is really enjoying his football and we hope he can continue on the same level he’s performing at currently.

“Chiesa is not 100 per cent fit after international duty, but we’ll evaluate him this weekend.”

Montella was asked who he was more concerned about facing between Sandro Tonali and Mario Balotelli.

“I think a striker like Balotelli could probably be more decisive than a midfielder. Here’s hoping he gets flu and can’t play!”

This is Montella’s second stint in Florence, although he was re-hired by the Della Valle brothers and remained in his place during the takeover by Rocco Commisso.

“I don’t wish to lack respect towards the Della Valle family, who after all brought me back here. Commisso brought enthusiasm back to Florence and he never let the team feel they were alone either. He is ambitious, believes in his ideas and in Italians. We are seeking talented Italian players, because he wants us to have a strong local identity, and I think that can make the difference.”

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