Montella and Alonso look ahead to Minsk clash

Vincenzo Montella held a press conference today ahead of his team’s Europa League clash with Dinamo Minsk. The Viola coach was joined by defender Marcos Alonso. Montella was keen to underline the importance of tomorrow’s match, despite the fact that first place is already assured for Fiorentina: “The match is an opportunity to give some of the players who’ve played less some game time. They’ve got a chance to change my mind and show me what they can do. “Every match helps you in the next one and all experience is good experience. This match can help me see where we need to improve. I think that mentality and desire are the keys to tomorrow’s match. The big teams want to win every game and impose their football – that’s what tomorrow is about. Obviously, the adrenaline levels will be lower than if it were a high-stakes game, but everybody – players, coach and technical staff – need to be ready to prepare fully for this type of match,” explained Montella. Spanish defender Marcos Alonso concurred with his manager’s opinion: “Obviously, we’ve already won the group so it’ll be hard not to think forward to Cesena. However, we want to win the match. They’ll be coming here looking to play well so we need to ensure our attitude is spot on.” The Viola coach also gave his opinion on the issue of teams joining the Europa League after being eliminated from the Champions League: “You need a slice of luck in this competition. I hope we have a kinder draw than we did last time around, especially in these early stages. The competition obviously gets much tougher as it wears on because you get big teams coming down from the Champions League. “Having said that, it’s premature to speak about drawing one team or another. There are a whole raft of possible opponents, including teams from the Champions League, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. I’ll be cheering on Roma tonight, and I’ll also be hoping City come fourth so there’s no chance we’ll play them in the next round! In fact, that way we’d avoid both of them!” Montella joked. Christmas is fast approaching, of course, so the conversation turned inevitably towards the subject of transfer business. Montella was in relaxed mood, quipping: “I just hope the players that are fit aren’t sold! Then we’d really be in trouble!” One of the names linked with a move away is Josip Ilicic. However, Montella was quick to pour water on the rumours: “He’s not asked for a move. He’s a good player and that’s why we spent money on him. He had a tough period and that coincided with the team playing very well, and that’s why he’s found his opportunities limited. He wants to play, he wants to help the team. If anyone thinks they can pick him up for cheap then they’re wasting their time.” One concern for Montella going into the game is the recent injury to Senegalese striker Khouma Babacar: “It’s a real shame for Babacar, we really are cursed when it comes to our forwards getting injured. He was doing well so I’m disappointed for him.” Nonetheless, one of the big positives of this season has been the form of Marcos Alonso, who said: “Serie A is different from other leagues I’ve played in, both in terms of the tactics and the way the teams compete. There’s a lot to learn.”