Monday February 29 2016
Sousa: 'Pride and regrets'

Paulo Sousa had “pride and regrets” after Fiorentina’s 1-1 draw with Napoli, as they could’ve won or lost this showdown.

Marcos Alonso’s opener was immediately wiped out by Gonzalo Higuain, but both teams created numerous chances, as the Viola hit the woodwork twice and Ciprian Tatarusanu performed an extraordinary double save.

“We always try to look beyond the result, so there is both pride and regrets,” the Coach told Sky Sport Italia.

“The performance was very positive, we stopped Napoli playing in the first half, moved the ball quickly and dominated, but unfortunately didn’t convert our many chances.

“In the second half we started losing possession very quickly, above all in the transitions, and that allowed Napoli more control. Our lines were more distant and players stretched out, which allowed Napoli and their quality individuals to keep it in the balance to the end.

“The important thing is to create a good number of scoring opportunities and of course be more clinical in our finishing. Unfortunately we didn’t manage the second part today.

“I didn’t see the issue as being physical, but above all of thought, as we weren’t in the right positions and immediately at the start of the second half lost the ball in two or three positive transitions, so lost confidence.

“We helped Napoli grow in confidence and from there struggled to regain control. It was balanced, but not as close to the level we were at in the first half.”

Fiorentina crashed out of the Europa League on Thursday night with a 3-0 defeat in London, but Sousa transformed his side by dropping Josip Ilicic and Federico Bernardeschi.

“I always try to evaluate our opponents to plan a strategy as well as my own players and what they can contribute. I think we had a good approach to the game and deserved much more.

“This team raised the expectations of the fans and media, so I am very proud that these lads are proving they can maintain those expectations too.

“I am very proud to see this side promote the style of football we played today. If you only look at victories and results, then sooner or later we will be able to beat the teams challenging for the Scudetto too.”

Fiorentina face Roma on Friday and it’s a head-to-head for third place, as they are currently level on points.

“Our methodology helps the players improve in their recovery, as that is one of the foundations of the work we do in training. Of course there are moments when certain players struggle and that leads to an inevitable dip in the quality level of the overall team.

“However, we are generally able to recover well both physically and psychologically.”

Sousa was chatting to Napoli Coach Maurizio Sarri before kick-off.

“He has done some great work and I thought he was so smart to recognise early on the characteristics of his players, making a change of system to find clarity.

“We complimented each other and I admire any Coach who can help me to improve.”

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