Italiano: ‘Faith in Fiorentina Conference League chances’

Vincenzo Italiano admits Fiorentina got the first half all wrong in their Conference League play-off defeat to Rapid Vienna, but the coach has ‘faith based on the second half’ they can turn this around.

The pressure is all on the Viola to qualify for the Conference League group phase after this 1-0 defeat in Vienna.

“We moved the ball around too slowly in the first half and didn’t get it into the positions we needed to,” said Italiano in a press conference.

“It was a great reaction after the break, but whereas last season we managed to score lots of goals, this time with the goalkeeper and lack of finishing, we haven’t been able to break through.

“I liked the reaction, we lost the first leg, but can now focus on turning this around in the second.”

Rolando Mandragora was penalised for a blatant shirt-tug, allowing Marco Grull to convert the penalty after 35 minutes.

It was a typical Fiorentina performance in the second half, constantly attacking and having several scoring opportunities, but failing to take any of them, including a desperate double save on Lucas Beltran and Gino Infantino.

The second leg is at the Stadio Artemio Franchi on Thursday August 30 and the away goals rule does not apply.

Lucas Beltran came off the bench for M’Bala Nzola and seemed to make more of an impact in attack, but Italiano explained why he did not start the Argentine.

“We will consider our options in the second leg, when we will go hell for leather and do everything to turn it around. We could not take that approach here away from home. I might’ve thought about it, but it would’ve been too damaging to concede a second on the counter-attack by leaving gaps.

“Balance was the most important thing tonight and I have faith based on the performance in the second half. I am convinced in front of our fans, we can do better in Florence.”

The Fiorentina supporters were banned from attending in Vienna because of the events of the Conference League Final last season against West Ham United.

It was a very different approach from the start to the extremely aggressive one they had against Genoa in Serie A at the weekend.

“I think we were very efficient in front of goal against Genoa and that clinical edge got the game on the right track immediately, but we didn’t have that today, going very close to finishing.

“We knew Rapid Vienna were physically very strong, but this is a tie played out over 180 minutes. We will try to be more aggressive and show more quality in the second leg. It wasn’t just not being aggressive, we gave the ball away cheaply several times in the first half and that is where we need to improve.”

Film of the match 🎞#RapidWienFiorentina#ForzaViola #RapidWienFiorentina #ACFFiorentina

— ACF Fiorentina (@acffiorentina) August 24, 2023

Related Articles

Back to top button