Fiorentina are working diligently (albeit unintentionally) to prove the famous adage about the effects of a successful Champions League campaign as the club’s domestic form remains erratic and unsatisfactory at best. The weekend defeat condemned the Tuscan side to their sixth defeat of the season, dropping them to ninth in the standings and four points adrift from Parma, who gleefully occupy the rewarding fourth spot. The inconsistent form in Serie A certainly irks the tifosi and probably concerns Coach Cesare Prandelli, but it does appear he has accepted the consequences of a positive campaign in Europe. Prandelli is as shrewd as they get and his star is rising with every season as he continues to confound the few dwindling critics in the wake of his meteoric rise. The Coach may not be riding as high as Marcello Lippi when he guided the Old Lady to league titles early on during his first stint with Juventus, but Prandelli is certainly an achiever considering the considerable difference in the resources between the Bianconeri and la Viola.
Prandelli’s confidence and calm approach seems to have filtered out to his players as he consistently comes out with appropriate comments in trying times. With the Gigliati suffering a defeat to Chievo away from the Stadio Artemio Franchi, the fourth loss outside Florence in Serie A was attributed to the congested schedule by the Coach. The classy Tactician was gracious to give i Mussi Volanti the credit deserved while pointing out his grave concern about the fatigue factor. Prandelli will, alongside Milan’s Leonardo and Juventus rookie Ciro Ferrara (both Coaches have their reasons), be cheerfully welcoming the Winter break, not only because of the holidays but because his squad has been decimated by injuries.
At the Stadio Bentegodi, the crafty Tactician had to do without the usual suspects in addition to goalkeeper Sebastien Frey. Prandelli has offered no excuses for the defeat and preferred to indicate he will be preparing in the same effective way for the much anticipated clash with Milan next week. The Coach will be hoping to welcome back some of his injured players, particularly the trustworthy Frenchman Frey, since the side cannot afford to lose their third home game of the season at this stage. Their strong home form was a main catalyst behind last season’s successful domestic campaign which yielded qualification to this year’s Champions League. Losing to the Rossoneri could possibly see the club drop outside the top 10 in the league and create a bigger gap with fourth ranked Parma.
The advantage of the upcoming round is the fact most of the sides competing for the last Champions League spot will be engaged in clashes with one another or against tough opposition. Beating Milan will enable Prandelli’s charges to close the gap on the leading sides and will serve as a perfect boost prior to the break. Fiorentina’s players are obviously still basking in glory following their European escapades, yet they must acknowledge a bad domestic season will cost them qualification to Europe next season in addition to having grave financial consequences. Prandelli’s main concern will be how many players can actually engage in his practice sessions considering the long injury list. Against the Rossoneri he will need to field his strongest possible line-up and with Romanian Adrian Mutu still out he will be fretting over the fitness of Montenegrin sensation Stevan Jovetić. Another concern has to be Marco Marchionni, who has had a stop-start season so far with his positive displays and early form followed by a series of niggling injuries which have limited his contribution. The winger was substituted against Chievo due to injury.
Prandelli is realistic and outlined how he envisages the season. He obviously believes his players have a solid chance of making it to the elite European competition once again, but he is aware the club will look for the transfer window to perhaps bring in reinforcements while at the same time keeping his star players. Juan Manuel Vargas continues to be linked with a move away from Florence considering his impressive performances and the persistent rumours linking him with a move to the revamped Real Madrid side.
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
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
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
Historic win as Tifosi give warm reception – December 11, 2009
Precious points dropped as fatigue and injuries mount – December 15, 2009