Sousa: “Time to flourish in ‘thrilling’ campaign”

Fiorentina manager Paulo Sousa urges his team to have a positive impact on what he predicts will be an exciting Serie A season starting with Saturday’s trip to Juventus Stadium.

Paulo Sousa has challenged his Fiorentina side to enjoy a strong 2016/17 season on the eve of Saturday’s opening league game against Juventus.

The 45-year old manager, who represented the Bianconeri during his playing career, stressed that the Viola would look to take away a positive result from tomorrow’s eagerly awaited encounter, whilst acknowledging the strengths of his former outfit.

“We’re taking on a team that has dominated the Serie A landscape in recent years, keeps improving and is now bidding to win the Champions League,” Sousa began. “They’ve grown a great deal and are especially strong in attack compared to previous years. It’s also evident that the club culture enables players to adopt a strong mental approach and to make the difference in matches.

“Nevertheless, we want to play our part in a thrilling league season, knowing that Juventus are the leading act. We’re looking to maintain an attractive brand of football this term, while being that bit more clinical in front of goal.”

Despite the Viola enduring a tough pre-season, losing their last five friendly outings, Sousa was keen to place emphasis on the positives that he has witnessed over the summer, not least a formidable team spirit and willingness to assist one another, especially the recent signings to have arrived in Tuscany.

“We’ve a great group of lads, who are very united. The more experienced heads here are helping the new faces to bed in quickly. I’m happy to be able to train and to bring the best out of all of them.

“I’ve had no need to motivate the players this week, as everyone knows the importance of this match both for ourselves and the city of Florence as a whole. We’re determined to do well and our only aim is that of winning.”