Coach Cesare Prandelli must have been delighted with Fiorentina’s first away win of the season – victory in the Tuscan derby. Prandelli had been concerned about the players having an eye on the Liverpool clash and losing focus against Livorno. However, the Tactician’s fears were put to rest as Fiorentina gave a solid, albeit unspectacular, display, in a scrappy match determined by a second half penalty.
The game ended positively for la Viola and the three points away from Stadio Artemio Franchi will serve as a building block, with the club climbing the Serie A rankings. Fiorentina are currently fourth, ahead of a number of decent teams, such as Udinese, Genoa, Lazio and Roma – all of whom harbor ambitions of snatching a Champions League spot for next season. The season promises to be enticing and challenging for Fiorentina, with traditional-powerhouse Milan and big-spending Napoli also vying for a top four finish.
As well as the three points won, the victory had other positives – Lorenzo De Silvestri made his Fiorentina debut, Sebestien Frey gave another assured display and young menace Stevan Jovetic showed increased self-belief. The Montenegro international expertly dispatched the penalty-kick, which had resulted from a foul on Alberto Gilardino, and played with great confidence. La Viola must be careful not to lose their budding luminary to a lucrative offer from an elite club – the young forward has been touted as a Manchester United target.
Of the season so far, Gilardino, Jovetic and custodian Frey have been three of Fiorentina’s most reliable players. Frey has been decisive on several occasions this season, while the two forwards have been scoring crucial goals. Against Livorno, la Viola’s Tactician opted to rest Jovetic and give Romanian star Adrian Mutu a run-out to build up his match fitness. Mutu, typical of his season on and off the pitch, struggled to make any impact and was later subbed to pave way for eventual match-winner Stevan.
Coach Prandelli has been trying to keep Jovetic grounded, without harming Fiorentina’s chances of winning games, and ensure the emerging-star does not become pretentious. The youngster is expected to start against Liverpool along with Mutu, as Gilardino is suspended.
Despite Liverpool firing on all cylinders, la Viola will not be easy prey, but Prandelli’s charges must implement his strategies and game plan. Winning against the Reds will mean so much to the Gigliati and will serve notice to the teams in Europe regarding the club’s potential.
The positive results achieved on the pitch, however, contrast with the rough times outside the playing field. Andrea Della Valle’s surprising decision to resign from his post as club President has created uncertainty and is an unwanted distraction for the team. Both Prandelli and goal-scorer Jovetic dedicated the win over Livorno to the outgoing President. While sporting director Pantaleo Corvino slammed the media for their unreasonable expectations and for pushing Della Valle away, despite the commendable work done under his leadership. In other non-playing news, the average attendance at home games for the club dropped significantly from over 31 000 to around 25 000 fans.
Despite signing highly regarded players, such as Cristiano Zanetti and Marco Marchionni from Juventus, Fiorentina did not spend heavily in the transfer market. It is, therefore, important that board members and supporters do not have unreasonably high expectations of the Florence based club’s coaching staff and players. For Fiorentina, the main objective should be to qualify for the Champions League next season, whilst progressing beyond the group stage this season.
These targets will become quite accessible if the team’s management opts to make a few signings during the transfer window in January. Two to three quality players will provide necessary cover, while adding depth to the squad. La Viola should also capitalise on the inconsistent starts of Lazio, Roma, Palermo and Napoli, as well as Milan’s dismal campaign. Presently however, all eyes are on Fiorentina’s immediate challenge – the home clash with Liverpool on Tuesday.
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