Sunday afternoon sees the return of Vincenzo Montella to the Stadio Artemio Franchi for the first time since his sacking in the summer. Fiorentina's opponents will be their former Coach's struggling Sampdoria side, and he made some interesting comments about his departure from Florence earlier this week.
The home side must break their run of three draws and a defeat in order to retain any chance of a third place finish this season. AS Roma currently sit five points ahead in the coveted final Champions League spot, but a defeat for them in the Derby della Capitale and a Fiorentina victory would narrow the gap to just two points with seven games remaining.
After shaky performances against Hellas Verona and Frosinone - both struggling at the bottom of the table - coach Paulo Sousa is keen to avoid the nerves that have plagued his side in recent weeks. We mustn't have the anxiety of a potential defeat, the coach warned in his pre-match press conference. "We need the ambition to win every game, to control anxiety and be more consistent."
The Viola tactician will have to achieve this without striker Nikola Kalinic, who will miss the match through suspension, with Khouma Babacar expected to start up front. The Senegalese striker will likely by supported by Cristian Tello, Josip Ilicic and Federico Bernardeschi, fresh from his two appearances with the Italian national team during the break.
Recent victories against Frosinone and Hellas Verona have seen the Genoa-based club pull four points clear of the drop zone, but it remains to be seen whether Vincenzo Montella's team can pull off a victory against a top four side. "I've never been subjected to so many defeats, that's for sure," L'aeroplanino said to Gazzetta dello Sport. "Nothing happens by chance. Probably this team, myself included, needs to be up to their neck in it to express themselves best. When we get past obstacles, a relaxation enters on a subconscious level that leads to errors."
Sampdoria will be missing Pedro Pereira, Carlos Carbonero and Angelo Palombo through injury, but will look to January signing Fabio Quagliarella to provide firepower up front, as he has scored three goals in seven appearances since his arrival from Torino.
Fiorentina: [4-2-3-1] Tatarusanu; Roncaglia, Rodriguez, Astori, Alonso; Badelj, Valero; Tello, Ilicic, Bernardeschi; Babacar
Sampdoria: [3-4-2-1] Viviano; Cassani, Ranocchia, Moisander; De Silvestri, Fernando, Krsticic, Dodo; Alvarez, Soriano; Quagliarella
TV: Viewing options are limited for this game, other than in Italy where it can be seen on Sky Calcio 3
Online: Online viewing options can be found here.
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