As pressure continues to mount on Fiorentina Coach Sinisa Mihajlovic ahead of Saturday’s vital Serie A clash with Bari, Dunga would emerge as a leading contender to take over the reins at the Stadio Artemi Franchi should the axe fall, according to Antonio Caliendo, the former Brazilian boss’s agent.
“If the Viola were to call tomorrow to offer Dunga the bench, he would not refuse it, but he wants to recharge his batteries after the disappointment of the World Cup,” Caliendo commented.
Dunga’s interest will certainly widen the wounds Mihajlovic is currently suffering as he battles to keep his job in Florence. For someone who has broadcast his great managerial credentials elsewhere in Italy, it looks as though keeping the Viola faithful could be one step too far.
Nevertheless, Mihajlovic is not one to quit and it looks as though he has one last chance to save his neck should Fiorentina win this weekend. With the Viola languishing at the foot of Serie A after seven games, it will take nothing less than three points to put a smile back on the face of all those connected to the Club. He at least appears to have the backing of majority shareholder Andrea Della Valle.
“Mihajlovic? There is absolutely no question. He is not the problem. We realise we are in trouble, but no one here is afraid or angry, we also believe we are close to seeing the light. We will try to conjure up our usual fighting spirit. We have lived through similar times in the past. We all will have a stronger armour because of it,” Della Valle insisted.
Riccardo Montolivio has suggested Mihajlovic also has the players’ backing and denied rumours of a divided dressing room.
“Despite the difficulty, we are united inside the dressing room. On Saturday we want to win at all costs and we will give everything to do it,” the Club Captain said, adding he would be fit for Saturday’s game after shaking off an ankle niggle.
Juan Manual Vargas remains an injury doubt, however, despite training intensely this week. The Peruvian winger is hopeful and finished training on Thursday with a smile on his face but reports suggest he is still only rated 50-50. Should both Vargas and Montolivio take to the field, it would be a massive boost for all concerned as Fiorentina aim to grab the win Mihajlovic craves.
Bari have had an indifferent start to the campaign with just two wins from their first seven fixtures, but Mihajlovic will know the serial giant killers have every chance of taking advantage of the tangle the Viola find themselves in.
Paolo Vitor Barreto leads Bari’s scoring charts with three league goals this season, and the Brazilian will be once again eager to impress Coach Giampiero Ventura and add to the home side’s downfall.
Midfielder Massimo Donati has turned up the heat on the Fiorentina players ahead of Saturday and reiterated how vital the game is for the Viola on Saturday:
“They have to win to force. They have only one result available. From our side we must not lose. It will be a tough match for both. We have to prepare the game well, especially from a mental point of view.”
As Mihajlovic prepares to go into battle for what could be the final time at the Stadio Artemi Franchi, his players owe it to him to display a performance which warrants their recent history under Cesare Prandelli. Adem Ljajic and Sebastian Frey are the only two who have come away with any kind of credit in what has been a shocking start to the campaign.
If there was ever a time for Alberto Gilardino, Montolivio and Vargas to demonstrate their true worth, this is the time to do it. Last Saturday’s defeat to Sampdoria must be forgotten and the eleven who enter the field against Bari need to stand up and be counted.
If Fiorentina were to lose it would not spell complete disaster as the season is still young. However, for a Club with Champions League aspirations, the Viola will have to act quickly to restore parity.
Nerves, sweat and emotion await on Saturday evening when Mihajlovic leads his team out in front of an expectant Viola crowd. The underfire Coach will be praying he isn’t yesterday’s news at the Stadio Artemi Franchi when Sunday morning comes around.