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VN Brain Trust: What’s your biggest takeaway from Moena?

The staff has some thoughts about training camp.

Moena. Val di Fassa. Dolomiti. Trentino Alto Adige. Italy. Europe
Y’know, besides the fact that it’s unspeakably beautiful.
Photo by: Federico Meneghetti/REDA&CO/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Every couple of weeks, the Viola Nation writers get together to hash out the answers to the most important Fiorentina questions. Here’s what we talked about this week.

What’s your biggest takeaway from Moena?

NickyNutella: It’s got to be Vincenzo Italiano’s insistence that his team play the way he wants regardless of opposition. While these pre-season games are needed to develop chemistry and learn the system, I worry that these lopsided results will skew expectations. After the first few weeks of the season we’ll have a better sense of how this system will truly work when it’s put in practice against some of Serie A’s best. On a more positive note, Fiorentina are currently playing some really aesthetically pleasing and swashbuckling calcio. If we’re going to suck again this year, at least we’ll do it in style!

Ben: I was only able to watch one of the friendlies, but from what I saw I’m very excited about how Italiano wants us to play. It will be night and day after the Beppe era(s). With that in mind, my real biggest takeaway from the retreat was the topic of my last article: Joe Barone is the most powerful Fiorentina employee. Both Daniele Pradè and Nicolas Burdisso were only ever in Moena briefly, and Joseph Commisso did not deal with the press nearly as much as Barone. Barone being the one introducing Youssef Maleh and answering questions about Dusan’s renewal was telling. Pradè is still doing plenty of work behind the scenes, but compared to the last two summers he’s taken a big step back in terms of press coverage (and thus vitriol from the fanbase). He’s been replaced by Barone as the figurehead of Fiorentina’s management. Whether Rocco’s decision to give Barone the keys to the club is a good one is tbd.

Tito: I’ve probably made my thoughts pretty clear on this (to summarize, I’m not falling into any traps this time around), but I’m still just enough of a sucker to fall for it again. For me, the difference is all between the ears. Under Vincenzo Montella, it was pathetically obvious that nobody knew what they were supposed to do. Under Giuseppe Iachini, the brief was to sit back and suffer. Under Italiano, the overriding instruction is to be proactive, both with and without the ball. Empowering players to take risks should lead to an entirely altered mindset, one that will hopefully result in fewer goals in the closing minutes (the Viola conceded more goals after 75’ than anyone else in Serie A last year) and see a willingness to go for the jugular when the time comes. If you don’t want the woo-woo stuff, though, it’s probably that Aleksandr Kokorin is going to play 700 minutes this year and I hate it.

Trevor: We’re Fiorentina fans, eternal optimists. No matter what happened the season before, summer brings new hope and with a new manager coming in, there’s always reason to be cheerful. Italiano plays the type of football that Fiorentina fans have been craving for quite a while now, and while the opposition didn’t provide much of a challenge, it did give us a look at how we can expect the team to play when we get to the real thing, which is not that far away! I’m curious, now that the new man has had a chance to evaluate the squad, to see what he looks for in the transfer window, and more importantly, if those requests will be satisfied. For now, I’m just happy that we have a coach who wants to play a positive game, to keep possession, and I hope those players who looked so miserable over the past couple of seasons will be excited too.