A draw with Juventus, four points from six this season, against our bitter rivals- something which every Fiorentina fan will be happy about. It does however, need to be remembered, and most of all the squad needs to be reminded, that we are still in a very dangerous position in the table.
Going into yesterday’s game, we were five points ahead of the relegation zone. After yesterday’s action, and despite our point earned against Juventus, there is now just a three point gap separating us from the bottom three. With five games still to play, we can hardly consider ourselves out of trouble just yet.
Listening to Rocco Commisso after the match, one would be forgiven for thinking otherwise. While nobody can blame the owner for being happy with the result and the performance, this is still not the time to lower our guard. With Fiorentina deciding not to join 11 other clubs in Serie A in asking for sanctions to be taken against the clubs involved in the Super League proposal, Rocco made a joke about his club now qualifying for the Champions League in place of Juventus after our four points gained against them. With the season we have had, and how the fans continue to suffer in yet another campaign which sees us struggling in the bottom half of the table, for me, his comments are a little out of place.
At a time when the squad need to have maximum concentration and commitment, and not just against Juventus, announcing that the ritiro has finished, and that they deserve a day off, would not seem to be the right message to send to these players. A group of players that have struggled to put any sort of consistent form together and who continue to hover just outside the relegation zone.
Personally speaking, I don’t see us ending up relegated, and at this moment, Benevento look the team most likely to end up in Serie B. There are still quite a few clubs at risk however, and we have to be included in that group. Cagliari, after three wins in a row, look like they might pull off a miraculous recovery when not so long ago they looked dead and buried. Torino have played two games less than the other sides, and a win against Napoli this evening would see them join us on 34 points. There are also quite a few games to be played between the sides involved in the relegation battle.
With Crotone and Parma almost certainly in Serie B, Cagliari still have to play against not just Fiorentina, but also Benevento and Genoa. Torino will face both Spezia and Benevento. Which means Benevento will play against Cagliari and Torino, along with away games at Milan and Atalanta, and a home game against Crotone. Not the easiest of run-ins, and on paper, possibly the hardest, but football is not played on paper, it is not controlled solely by statistics and mathematics. In football, anything can happen, and a slip up away to Bologna next weekend could see us in very deep water.
This is why the words of Rocco Commisso is not the message that the Fiorentina squad should receive. Maybe the silence imposed after the defeat at Sassuolo is something that should be continued, at least until Fiorentina are actually safely confirmed for next season’s Serie A.
Once that has been achieved, it will not be time for celebration. Fiorentina and its fans deserve more than to struggle like this for yet another season. There is a lot to be sorted out at the club, and this is what Rocco Commisso should be focused on, and focused on it now.
If, as has been reported, Daniele Pradè will still be in his position when the summer transfer window opens, it will only go to prove that Rocco refuses to learn from the mistakes made at the club. Pradè has had his chance, and has proven time after time that he is incapable of providing this club with the players it needs. Seeing Iachini with no alternative but to send on Christian Kouamé time after time, is a result of Pradè’s dealings in the January market. The signing of Aleksandr Kokorin, at a time when the squad needed players ready to assist in the relegation battle, was one of complete incompetence. At this stage, the most important thing for Fiorentina is to change the people making the decisions within the club, which for now is even more important than finding a new manager. Which says a lot considering Fiorentina have yet, after two seasons, to appoint a manager who can take the club to the level it should be competing at
What happens within Fiorentina before next season begins, will tell us a lot about the owner’s ambitions for the club. Those ambitions need to be about much more than survival and taking points off Juventus. Hopefully by next season fans will be allowed back into the stadium, and the fans of Fiorentina have already had their patience severely tested. Another season like these last two, would see an atmosphere at the Artemio Franchi which Rocco Commisso, luckily, has yet to experience.