It's been a tough couple days for both the fans and Vincenzo Montella after a demoralizing defeat to Sevilla in the Europa League semifinal on Thursday. As the inquest goes on as to whether this season can be called a "successful" one or not, the final 3 games of the season and Fiorentina's finishing position could tilt the Viola planning entering the summer. Regardless of who may or may not be back next year, the group is still fighting for European football for next season, with Genoa passing the Viola today in the standings, while Sampdoria and Inter both lost. The final games for Fiorentina look very manageable on paper, but this team has already misfired in some easy games this season, and have already lost to bottom of the table Parma once this season.
That game at the Tardini was one of the lowest points of the Viola season, with Mario Gomez missing a penalty in one of his worst Fiorentina displays, and the team failing to score against a team in financial and emotional chaos. Revenge and a good, concrete display at home against a team with nothing to play for is just what the doctor ordered, but they will have to be careful not to underestimate a Parma side that has enjoyed taking scalps from top sides despite certainly heading to Serie B (or worse) next season.
The team for tomorrow is a bit of a mystery, with the turnover needed to play twice or three times a week no longer needed, but some players likely to be tired after their exertions on Thursday. Federico Bernardeschi had a minor problem in training and will sit this one out, while David Pizarro will also likely sit. Micah Richards has not returned to full fitness, but Nenad Tomovic is expected to return to the starting lineup. Fiorentina will likely start with a proper striker again, but it could be either of Mario Gomez or Alberto Gilardino leading the attack.
Montella didn't speak much about the potential lineup for tomorrow's game in his pre-game press conference, with most of the questions on the subject of his post-match declarations after the elimination to Sevilla. He stood by his players again and his dislike for the irony directed at the team in the second half on Thursday. "I don't think I have to apologize to anyone" said the Viola mister, noting that "this team doesn't deserve to be derided, as they have given us all great satisfactions; for these boys I am ready to stand even against an entire city, if necessary." But Montella softened his words slightly after affirming his belief, by noting his desire for continued permanence in Florence. "I have been very 'correct,' I have always been very sincere and I have never met with [other] presidents, except one great club, last season, when I decided to stay with Fiorentina. It would be counterproductive for me to create problems with the society... [especially since] the public has been beside us for the past 3 years, and we have gone on this journey together... I live in Florence and am totally in Florence, I am ready to fight for this team and these colors."
Montella ended his press conference with some compliments to Parma and their coach Roberto Donadoni. "If I were to give the 'Golden Bench' to anyone today, I'd give it to Donadoni... I expect a proud Parma, but one that will likely play very freely. I want to see a superior will to win from my side." I am sure all Fiorentina fans will be in agreement with their coach on that last point at least.
FIORENTINA (4-3-3) Neto; Tomovic, Gonzalo Rodriguez, Savic, Pasqual; Borja Valero, Badelj, Matias Fernandez; Joaquin, Gomez, Salah
Parma (4-5-1) Mirante; Cassani, Mendes, Feddal, Gobbi; Varela, Mauri, Jorquera, Nocerino, Ghezzal; Palladino
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