The Gigliati were upset by Serie A’s surprise package Parma as the Ducali recorded an impressive 3-2 win at the Stadio Artemio Franchi.
Fiorentina will rue the injuries which have forced Adrian Mutu and Stevan Jovetic as well as Alessandro Gamberini to miss out on the entertaining encounter. Perhaps the only bright spots from the weekend clash were the two goals by the free scoring Alberto Gilardino, and Juan Manuel Vargas’s encouraging display, which confirmed his steady improvement and the lack of further injuries to the squad. Gilardino’s brace came courtesy of two impressive headers, and he almost had a third if it were not for Parma goalkeeper Mirante’s great save at the end.
The club players, tifosi and Coach Cesare Prandelli were all visibly disappointed with the home loss as la Viola has shown vulnerability at home following an early season stretch during which the Stadio Artemio Franchi was transformed into a fortress with visiting teams often happy to sit back to earn a point. Prandelli attributed the defeat to the lack of continuity as a result of the international break while insisting it is difficult to maintain a consistent level with injuries and stoppages between fixtures. Striker Gilardino gave credit to Parma for their approach while captain Dario Dainelli mentioned to Sky Sport Italia the players were disappointed because of the costly errors which were made but stressed Prandelli has his troops already focused on the Lyon game. Fiorentina’s players will be highly motivated to appease the tifosi and will certainly not want to lose two home games in a row. Lyon’s Coach Claude Puel insisted to il Corriere dello Sport his players will be in Florence to guarantee first position in the group and to repeat last year’s performance in Italy. The statement by Coach Puel may serve as another form of motivation for the Fiorentina players to work hard to come on top of the former French league champions.
While Gilardino continues to score, Vargas sent several teasing crosses and was behind many of Fiorentina’s attacks but his performance, did not yield the goal he truly merited. With Romanian Mutu and Montenegrin Jovetic sitting out, Vargas shouldered much of the responsibility in terms of creativity and instigating menacing attacks against the Crociati. Gilardino remains more than capable in front of goal but the absence of two of the club’s creative forces showed the difficulties facing Coach Prandelli as the club embarks on a stretch of important fixtures starting with the Champions League match against French side Lyon. A win is imperative since la Viola would prefer to deflate Liverpool’s players and knock them out prior to the last round of matches, particularly with injuries depriving Prandelli of some of his best players. Defender Gamberini’s injury continues to be a concern for the Coach and the substitutes have struggled to compensate for his absence. To make matters worse, reliable custodian Sebastien Frey has played in the last two matches for the Florence side despite being short of full fitness and still attempting to recover from an injury he suffered recently. Prandelli does not want to risk his goalkeeper but no chances can be taken with Inter and then Liverpool on the agenda in the next couple of weeks.
Prandelli knows the importance of winning against Lyon as the three points will render the Liverpool meeting meaningless while putting the Gigliati with Europe’s remaining 16 elite sides. The implications extend beyond qualifying and serve as a way to lure future signings and bigger names to Florence while offering the tifosi a steady dose of quality football. Simply put, beating Lyon will push la Viola into first place in the group standings and will ensure the Tuscan side receives additional funds as a result of making it to the elimination rounds. Coach Prandelli declared Jovetic will most likely be on the bench against Lyon yet he refused to be drawn on whether and when he will feature, stressing the young prodigy has recovered and just needs to get back to full fitness.
Fiorentina’s ambition since the days of Gabriel Batistuta has been focused on reaching the latter stages of the Champions League while regularly finishing amongst the top four in Serie A and winning trophies when feasible. While some may argue this is difficult, the relative success of none other than Parma during the mid 1990s serves as an example of how spending, hard work and the right chemistry can pay dividends. Clearly funds must be available in order to build a solid foundation and it does appear la Viola is willing to spend. The presence of a capable Coach creates the ideal environment to nurture the various signings and blend them into one concrete unit.
Fiorentina Club Focus
Viola continue to grind out results – September 15, 2009
La Viola lose Gilardino and the points – September 18, 2009
Fatigue catching up with la Viola – September 22, 2009
Della Valle Resigns as Fiorentina triumph over Sampdoria – September 25, 2009
La Viola finally win away as De Silvestri makes debut – September 29, 2009
The beginning of the Jovetic era in Florence? – October 2, 2009
Two points lost and a wasted opportunity – October 6, 2009
Good news all round – October 9, 2009
International Week (Republic of Ireland-Italy, Italy-Cyprus)
Transfer rumours abound as Gilardino fires la Nazionale to South Africa – October 13, 2009
Gilardino shines again as la Viola eye the Bianconeri’s scalp – October 16, 2009
La Viola holds firm against Juventus – October 20, 2009
Crucial win over Debrecen, Manchester United prepare bid for Jovetić? – October 23, 2009
La Viola going through a rough patch – October 30, 2009
Marchionni brace completes Fiorentina rebound – November 3, 2009
Prandelli and co. march on against Debrecen – November 6, 2009
La Viola edge Udinese as Marchionni and Montolivo earn Azzurri recall – November 10, 2009
Vargas to stay as Prandelli praises Jovetic – November 20, 2009
Injuries taking their toll as Lyon clash looms – November 24, 2009