Yesterday afternoon, battlin' Mario Suarez addressed the press for the first time in his Fiorentina career. Introduced by (former undefeated manager) Vincenzo Guerini, the Spaniard selected the number 18 shirt and answered some pretty easy questions.
Suarez opened with a standard "just happy to be here" tact, although he did mention that Inter had been in pursuit of his signature as well. He also shouted out to Borja Valero for telling him what a wonderful environment Florence is; here's hoping Borja continues his work for the Viola as the official public relations contact for borderline Spanish internationals.
While there wasn't much of substance in the interview, there were also some scraps for the tactical fanatics. Suarez stated "Sousa asks us to pressure. We will." Not surprisingly for one of Diego Simeone's key cogs, Suarez is familiar with the high-intensity style, adding that he expects to pugnaciously occupy the holding role just in front of the defense.
As Fiorentina haven't seemed especially focused on high pressure thus far, it follows that Sousa is implementing his style slowly, and we might not see his ideal system and play in place until later in the season when the squad is more familiar with it.
Besides Borja, Suarez also praised Fiorentina's youngsters, singling out Niccola Fazzi, Khouma Babacar, and Federico Bernardeschi for praise, while also complimenting the squad's mix of veteran experience and youthful exuberance.
He was also effusive in his praise of Giuseppe Rossi, calling the striker "a world class player, very strong and a phenomenon," adding that Fiorentina's anointed savior appeared healthy and ready.
Suarez took care to mention the tifosi as the "twelfth man on the field," saying he expected comparable support from the gigliati fans as he had previously enjoyed from the Atleti supporters. He also praised Serie A as a league on the rise, which is platitudinous but which he may believe, adding that he was excited for a new challenge after winning everything in Spain.
He then expressed interest in playing for Spain at the Euros, although he acknowledged that it would be tough to lock down a spot. Suarez backed la furia roja to win the tournament, with Italy as an outside shot.
The new wearer of the 18 shirt finished by saying he felt welcome already in the locker room, and is already chummy with the Spanish contingent, while he hopes to improve his Italian quickly in order to bond with the rest of the team. Mario Suarez ended with the usual "I'm happy to be here, I'm only thinking about the Viola, and I want to do as well as possible." All in all, a positive, albeit predictable, set of statements from the new boy.