Thursday March 13 2014
Montella: 'Gomez perfect moment'

Vincenzo Montella said Mario Gomez “couldn’t have picked a better moment” to score in Fiorentina’s draw at Juventus.

“We need to keep the ball, otherwise we struggle,” he told Sky Sport Italia after a 1-1 Europa League result.

“Against Juve that is even more necessary, as they are a stronger team and physically tougher, so we have to play between the lines.

“There were positive signs despite the difficult start, as they were forcing our full-backs to stay tight. I liked the first half perhaps more than the second, as Fiorentina were always in it and almost all Juve’s scoring opportunities were on set plays.

“We always tried to take the initiative and I saw my team enjoy its football in possession.”

Gomez had not scored since September 1 and only recently returned after five months out with a knee injury, but broke his drought in Turin for a precious away goal.

“The first touch was wonderful, but also his physique and international experience. Combine all those and you get a world class goal. He could not have chosen a better moment to get back on the scoresheet.”

Montella was asked about his choices, as he started with Alessandro Matri and Josip Ilicic, while Juan Cuadrado and Manuel Pasqual remained on the bench throughout.

“A Coach prepares a strategy ahead of a game, but some work and others don’t. Against Juve you have to prepare several, as they have so many options and movements.

“Initially we decided to push up and keep the ball wide to avoid them going through the middle and slowly we got the measure of them. I like this style of football, attacking and taking some risks.

“I don’t know how many games Cuadrado has played, but he can be on the bench occasionally. I made a tactical choice too, as we needed players who would dialogue with a certain logic and his strength is more of an illogical approach!”

Fiorentina have the away goal and can therefore afford to draw 0-0 in the second leg next Thursday, but Montella is not convinced.

“We are by no means favourites. Fiorentina have scored regularly for the last two years, so at most we have a slight advantage.”