Fiorentina, Italian: “I’m different from 2021. Future? Phone off or silent”

Live TMW

3.40pm – In a little while Vincenzo Italianocoach of Fiorentina, presents tomorrow’s Conference League final against Olympiacos in a press conference.

4.46pm – The press conference begins.

What has changed since a year ago?
“The only thing that’s different is that we’ve already experienced certain things. Then in my opinion these are 50-50 games: they’re strong and we’re strong, we have to play a match like finals are played. We have a bit of experience, we have something behind us and we have to show it tomorrow. I live this match with great anticipation… I hear and read what they say, for us it is a sort of revenge. Tomorrow we must not make mistakes, remaining attentive and focused. The final must be played with the fire inside and the maximum application. Last year we didn’t have a good epilogue, we will put that bitterness to make it end differently knowing that the opponent is strong, quality and prepared: it will be tough.”

You have recovered Dodo: how important is this?
“Since he returned, we didn’t expect to find him in this condition. Already so ready for high-level performances… He always took to the field going strong, at the beginning we tried to manage him but when he returned to 100% he expressed at his level. He’s fine, in his return with Bruges he played a great match and for us he’s an added weapon. We also have Kayode and Faraoni… We’re in good shape on the right.”

What is the key word or concept?
“What they heard me say between the pitch and the changing rooms is that we must never lose our identity. Indeed, even more so we must show the organisation, the football thinking that allowed you to play in a final. With adjustments and adaptations at the individual: maximum perception of danger, concreteness and concentration on everything you are going to do. The detail. There is no time to reply and it is a final, so I say identity and competitive fury. That must not be missing, the match is too much important”.

What plan do you have for El Kaabi?
“We brought chains and padlocks (he smiles, ed.). Both he and the team have made a great journey: if we arrive undefeated, they have put in great performances in the last few games, reaching the final with high-level performances. He scores regularly and he knows how to score in every way, he’s fine and we know he’s a strong point for our opponent. We’ll try to limit him, we can do it with dedication and determination.

Would you have preferred to play in another city?
“I didn’t know that Olympiacos had already won here, another added danger… But on the pitch everything takes second place: half the stadium is for Fiorentina, half for Olympiacos. They play in their city but not nothing changes. Good for them who didn’t travel without preparing situations in advance and being able to work at home. But you get on the pitch and it’s 50-50. We put everything aside and think about ourselves, giving everything we have.”

Any regrets about how the championships went over the three years?
“I wasn’t even thinking about the championship… But whether you want the route in Europe or not, something takes away from you. We try to rotate everyone and have fresh people, to rotate, but it takes something away from you. That concentration we had in Europe every now and then we lacked But in the end, in my opinion, we didn’t do so badly in Serie A, with a seventh place and two eighths, always arriving in Europe. We all wanted more and we didn’t succeed, but a double European final remains a source of great satisfaction. In the cup we found different strategies, especially in the second match, to make the strategies we wanted. This allowed us to reach the two finals between Serie A, Conference and Italian Cup, also adding the Super Cup, our path is more how positive. When I arrived in Florence, thinking of presenting myself for two consecutive years in front of such an audience wasn’t even in my head, just like getting to play all these finals with the group. Tomorrow we have the chance to achieve this joy that we have been chasing for a long time.”

How much has changed and grown since you and the team have been in Florence? What do you think about when you see images of Prague again?
“It’s normal that it’s different from when I arrived. My dream was to reach Europe with Fiorentina and I succeeded. My wealth of knowledge has grown considerably. With the boys we changed many things on the pitch and I discovered new aspects: not I’ve missed nothing in these three years, between collective goals and tactical aspects. I’m different from 2021 and I’m happy about that, but I knew that you have players of this level at your disposal, you have to make yourself available and you already know that will have to be changed. Thinking back to Prague I think of the faces of the boys at the final whistle and I wouldn’t want to see them again tomorrow so beautiful and unlike Prague, certain aspects are needed. That match hurt us, the whole club and Florence: we will try to reverse the situation.”

Have you prepared something to counter Mendilibar? Have you prepared the penalties?
“With the new coach they found the right solution: they had problems, he was the third coach and with him they put everything in order, going strong in Europe and beating opponents of the highest level. We saw an organized team, which knows how to apply pressure and play under line of the ball, attacking directly. They have experienced, quality, valuable and talented players. As long as they are in the final it determines the value, it is the identity that scares us the most We have to know how to create a lot and be concrete to hurt a team that we can put in difficulty. We tried penalties, we stopped because we have a lot of people with the personality to beat them. We went through two rounds on penalties of the Italian Cup while in the championship we made some mistakes and for this reason perhaps we are not in a different position. Let’s see how it goes.”

Have you thought about a foil in case of victory? Can the cup affect his future?
“I didn’t think about the foil, I’ll do it now. I’ll think about it, anyway… If it were to happen, we’ll come up with something later. As for the future, really, the phone is often turned off or often on silent and I’m not interested in listening to anything. Since We haven’t played the semi-final for a long time, I just had to concentrate on all the important matches. Football is strange and there are zero certainties. Let’s think about the match and then we’ll evaluate everything.”

Will a circle close tomorrow?
“In my opinion, a great job has been done, but from the moment we are here again tomorrow we must try to add something to this excellent journey, full of records, satisfactions, semi-finals and finals. Nobody knows what the future will be in terms of attendance in other finals, especially European ones, so tomorrow we’ll do everything we can to add the icing.”

Tomorrow you could give 9 teams in Europe to Italy next year.
“We also have this extra ‘responsibility’, it would be spectacular. Since I have been following football it has never happened… We can give this joy to Torino and we will try, as well as for ourselves and Fiorentina, to go fast to give another team in Europe to Italian football. Playing these matches is always nice, I noticed it, we will try to make our friends in Turin happy.”

What did Commisso tell you?
“The president is excited as always, it’s not like me who suffers from plane travel: it takes 16-17 hours and he arrives recharged, serene and smiling. Always a pleasure to see him and his wife, today as soon as he arrived he made the speech to the team He conveys the confidence needed for these difficult commitments and I must not add the fact that tomorrow on the pitch a few drops of sweat will have to be thrown away for him, for his family, for Joe Barone and Joe’s family months: we didn’t deserve this tragedy, the president and Fiorentina didn’t deserve such bad moments as losing a friend. In the locker room there are already images of Joe and the president.”