Coach Cesare Prandelli made it a point to stress that he was proud of his players despite their narrow 2-1 defeat away to Genoa. The classy Tactician, a recent winner of the International Giacinto Facchetti Prize which is given to individuals in football who display remarkable and positive demeanour, praised the efforts of la Viola’s players and stressed he was satisfied with their performance. Deep inside, Prandelli must be ruing the wasted points after the second consecutive defeat in the league following the disappointing home loss to Napoli over the weekend.
The Gigliati’s latest defeats must surely inflict some damage on the morale of Prandelli’s troops following a steady stretch of positive results. The pressure is on Fiorentina’s star players, namely Stevan Jovetić, Adrian Mutu and Alberto Gilradino, to deliver the goals after a less than convincing offensive showing in the last two matches. The next two matches, both home in the domestic league and Europe, are must-win encounters against Catania and Debrecen. Beating the Hungarian side in the Champions League brings the players one step closer to qualification beyond the group stage, unless they suffer dramatically in the remaining games against Liverpool and Lyon. The Tuscan club must take full-points against Debrecen in order to enter the last two critical clashes with as little pressure on them as possible.
Moving back to this weekend’s clash against Catania which is scheduled at the Stadio Artemio Franchi, Coach Prandelli must be seriously thinking about his best offensive line-up in light of this week’s mediocre return in front of goal. All three forwards – Gilardino, Jovetić and Mutu – have recently been in scoring form so their struggles to find the back of the net against the Partenopei and il Grifone came as a surprise. Both opposing teams are loaded with talent so it does not come as a shock that Fiorentina lost some points in those two encounters. The loss to the Neapolitans, however, created a crack in what has become an indomitable fortress for la Viola’s players who are not accustomed to losing at home in Florence. The first home loss of the season in Serie A must surely hurt and this was compounded further by the fact that the goal that doomed Fiorentina’s home-record came late in the 88th minute. The Gigliati’s players were perhaps facing added pressure away to Genoa and despite falling behind in a hostile environment, they were able to claw their way back courtesy of substitute Marco Marchionni’s equalizer, only to concede again. The match also witnessed unfortunate incidents with Genoa’s tifosi throwing coins and spitting at a linesman during the encounter with the home side. They were subsequently fined €30,000 for this unacceptable behaviour.
Despite those two defeats, Fiorentina, which currently lies eighth in the league table, is a mere two points behind fourth placed surprise package Parma. More importantly, the Champions League prospects for the Tuscan club are looking bright following the defeat of Liverpool to Lyon, keeping in mind that the English and French sides will clash again this week, the result of which could potentially give the Tuscans some breathing room provided they do the job against the Hungarians. The one concern for Prandelli must be the side’s dearth of goals in the domestic league, despite boasting the likes of Gilardino and Mutu. In the latest transfer saga involving Fiorentina, the club has been linked with a swap deal involving Milan which will see Mutu move away from Florence in exchange for Dutch striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar in addition to some cash. Such a move will rid the Florence outfit of the distracted Mutu, yet Huntelaar does not serve as an upgrade or improvement on the Romanian international unless the Dutchman’s current downbeat performances are just a blip.
On another note, goalkeeper Sebestien Frey, who is normally reserved, boasted that he ranks himself amongst the best five goalkeepers in the world on current form, with Juventus’ Gianluigi Buffon as the best in his opinion. The French goalkeeper’s claims can perhaps be backed up by the fact that his displays this season have veered between the consistent and the superb, with a number of his saves putting him up there with Buffon in terms of incredible goalkeeping. Prandelli must be pleased to see that his number one choice is beaming with confidence, yet the Coach is already preparing for the clash with Catania this weekend. Anything other than a win will be a disastrous result for the team.
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