Club Focus – Fiorentina – Mutu’s timely return to form

The Gigliati played host to surprise package Bari and were able to eventually overcome the Biancorossi after a nail-biting finish. La Viola scored twice courtesy of the apparently rejuvenated Adrian Mutu and reserve striker Jose Castillo who ironically might be joining the visiting side before the closure of the transfer market. The victory marked another positive step taken by Coach Cesare Prandelli’s charges in their quest to finish in the top four to qualify to next season’s Champions League competition once again.

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The match witnessed everything from goals to missed opportunities to late drama as goal scorer Castillo earned a red card to leave both sides down to 10 men in a hotly contested encounter. Bari had Juventus flop Sergio Almiron sent off earlier. The Argentine’s dismissal paved the way for the Coach’s decisive change to throw in an additional attacker in the shape of Castillo who would end up scoring the winner. Prandelli has been complimented on numerous occasions but it is hard to have a week go by without commending the astute tactician on his managerial skills and his handling of his squad. The Coach moved swiftly in recent weeks to deny the rumours linking Romanian star Mutu with a move away from Florence and the stance apparently worked wonders as the forward has responded with two goals in two games since the resumption of league play.

The calculated statements released by Prandelli are not the only reason behind the return to form of Mutu as well as the rebirth of the likes of Riccardo Montolivo. The Coach tends to follow the right approach in dealing with his players, their concerns and boosts their confidence by playing them in the appropriate position at the right time. What makes Prandelli’s decisions even more convincing and effective is the fact he chooses to stick by his players when their performances are being questioned. Consequently the Coach gets rewarded for his faith and perseverance with solid displays by the players who were in doubt and susceptible to criticism due to their poor performances.

Mutu and Montolivo are just two names to fall under this list as the first has been going through lack of form caused by various injuries and his often mentioned legal debacle with Chelsea while the latter has witnessed a sharp drop in his form which saw him excluded from Marcello Lippi’s plans for la Nazionale. Both players are now back in contention at the Stadio Artemio Franchi and are displaying the form which gave the tifosi hope regarding the Gigliati’s chances of pushing ahead with their challenge to powerhouse clubs such as Inter, Juventus and Milan. Mutu may grab the headlines by returning to his scoring ways but Montolivo was one of the best performers on the pitch against Bari earning him Man-of-the-Match recognition for his contributions.

The victory against the Galletti was even more impressive given Bari’s stingy defence which now ranks best (alongside the Gigliati and the Nerazzurri) despite the two goals scored by la Viola. The Tuscan club will have the opportunity to build on this key victory as mentioned in previous reports considering the next two matches are at home and against inconsistent teams (Chievo and Bologna). La Viola beat Bari despite missing the usual absentees such as Cristiano Zanetti and Alessandro Gamberini as well as rising star Stevan Jovetic. The Coach continues to successfully rotate the starting line-up to avoid fatigue and injuries while compensating for the absence of key figures such as Montenegrin sensation Jovetic who remains sidelined due to injury. Against the Biancorossi the Gigliati were without one of the team’s most impressive performers in the past couple of months in the shape of Juan Manuel Vargas. The Peruvian missed out on the encounter due to injury while defender Gianluca Comotto was serving a suspension. The ability to grind out results while missing several key players is a testimony to the Coach’s abilities as well as the squad’s belief in his decisions.

Off the pitch the rumours are subsiding although the transfer market remains open which is another sign Prandelli will be looking in-house to reinforce the squad by awaiting the return of influential players who are injured such as Gamberini, Jovetic and Vargas. In all likelihood la Viola will only be involved in minor transfers before the closure of the market with a couple of players, namely Castillo and Danish defender Per Kroldrup, linked with a move away from Florence. Fiorentina will apparently keep pursuing Sporting Lisbon’s midfielder Miguel Veloso as previously reported in the Club Focus segment.

Fiorentina Club Focus

Week 3


Viola continue to grind out results
– September 15, 2009

Week 4


La Viola lose Gilardino and the points
– September 18, 2009


Fatigue catching up with la Viola
– September 22, 2009

Week 5


Della Valle Resigns as Fiorentina triumph over Sampdoria
– September 25, 2009

Week 6


La Viola finally win away as De Silvestri makes debut
– September 29, 2009


The beginning of the Jovetic era in Florence?
– October 2, 2009

Week 7


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

Week 8


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

Week 10


La Viola going through a rough patch
– October 30, 2009

Week 11


Marchionni brace completes Fiorentina rebound
– November 3, 2009

Week 12


Prandelli and co. march on against Debrecen
– November 6, 2009


La Viola edge Udinese as Marchionni and Montolivo earn Azzurri recall
– November 10, 2009

Week 13


Vargas to stay as Prandelli praises Jovetic
– November 20, 2009


Injuries taking their toll as Lyon clash looms
– November 24, 2009

Week 14


la Viola through to the round of 16 in Europe
– November 28, 2009


La Viola’s resistance broken from the penalty spot
– December 1, 2009

Week 15


Must-win game to remain close to Champions League spots
– December 4, 2009


Race for fourth continues as Fiorentina travel to Anfield
– December 8, 2009

Week 16


Historic win as Tifosi give warm reception
– December 11, 2009


Precious points dropped as fatigue and injuries mount
– December 15, 2009

Week 17


Viola prepare for Milan’s arrival and Mutu’s departure
– December 18, 2009


Snow postpones Milan clash
– December 22, 2009

Winter Break


Calm holiday period despite transfer reports
– December 29, 2009


Reinforcements wanted
– January 5, 2010

Week 18


Ideal start for 2010 as the Gigliati begin a push to climb the table
– January 8, 2010


Mutu’s timely return to form
– January 12, 2010

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