Montella, Matri: “Juve a great team. Focus and respect needed if we’re to go through”

Vincenzo Montella and Alessandro Matri held a news conference at Juventus Stadium this evening ahead of the Viola’s Europa League last-16 first-leg clash with the Bianconeri tomorrow.

While under no illusions about the size of the task awaiting his men, Montella is confident that his team are capable of progressing. “It’s a tie that will obviously be decided over 180 minutes so we’ll be looking to score at least one goal, although you can’t make too many calculations in a game like this. We want to keep going in this competition and to do that we must be focused and respect our opponents.

“We haven’t been scoring a lot recently but I don’t believe that depends on the formation. We must improve in the final third and do it against difficult opposition but I’m confident we can do that.”

The Viola boss then reflected on what can be learnt from last Sunday’s meeting between these same two sides here in Turin: “I was very pleased with our second-half display. I don’t think there are many teams who have come here to Juventus Stadium and played the way we did in the second period. We tried to take the game to them in first half as well but a lot depends on Juventus. I think we showed mental strength to come out and perform like that after the break.”

On Savic’s chances of featuring: “I hope to have him available tomorrow.”

Borja Valero and Andrea Pirlo were missing on Sunday but are expected to return tomorrow. “I’m happy when one of my players becomes available again. I hope he’s calm after the birth of his daughter and that he can express his talent. Pirlo is an amazing player. But if I were Conte, I think I’d rest him tomorrow!”

Could Gomez and Matri both start up front? “Yes, that’s a possibility. They can play together but the team needs to support them during the attacking phase.”

Finally, the Fiorentina manager was asked to comment on the recent unpleasant stadium chants. “Rivalry between fans is part of the game. Some of the chanting is not nice and something has to be done about it. Hopefully tomorrow will be game of good football and nothing else.”

Alessandro Matri spoke about what it feels like to be facing his former club. “I think I’ll feel the right amount of emotion tomorrow. We’ll do everything possible to go through, although we know they’re a great team. Score against my old club? I hope so!”

On his fitness: “I’m fine. I made a good start. I hadn’t played for a while but I’ve had the chance to get a few games under my belt now.”

The striker was also quizzed about Fiorentina’s recent goal drought. “It’s the coach’s job to work on tactical aspects. Personally, I have to work harder to make sure I stick them away more regularly.”

What about the idea of partnering Gomez in attack? “It’s important to get the balance of the team right but we’ve worked together in training and, as the gaffer said, we can play together if the occasion calls for it, no problem.”