Italiano: ‘Plzen game the most important for us in this period’


Fiorentina head coach Vincenzo Italiano called their match against Viktoria Plzeň ‘their most important game in this period’. A goalless first leg means the Viola have everything to play for at the Artemio Franchi on Thursday afternoon:

“This is the most important match of this period,” Italiano stated in his pre-match interview with Sky Sport. “We’ve had many important matches before, but tomorrow is crucial to continue our European journey. The draw in the first leg allows us to approach the game in a certain way. We are determined to progress.”

Italiano acknowledged the challenges that lie ahead in tomorrow’s match, stressing the need for improved performance. “We need to do everything better in terms of our game if it’s similar to the first leg,” he remarked. “We must play differently: faster, more proactive, and with more personality. Players need to take responsibility and work with greater quality.”

Addressing the experienced players in the squad, Italiano expressed his expectations: “I expect a lot from those who have the ability to trouble these opponents. We must play as a team but also exploit the capabilities of our forwards. We need to be more productive in terms of goals; we haven’t been doing that in 2024. The players are aware, and we must seize every opportunity.”

Italiano’s comments in the press conference echoed the sentiments expressed earlier. Reflecting on the first leg, he emphasized the importance of being more clinical in front of goal. “We need to do much better to try to score,” he asserted. “We are level, and tomorrow, we need to do something different in their half. While we controlled much of the game, we must score and penetrate their area quickly with more players.”

Regarding the team’s nickname “Barcelona of Italy,” given by the Plzeň coach after the first leg, Italiano interpreted it as a compliment. “He was referring to how we played in the first leg, not allowing them to execute their game plan,” Italiano explained. “I believe it’s a compliment, and I’ll pass it on to the players. We managed the game well, limiting their chances. Tomorrow, we hope for a similar performance but with more effectiveness in attack.”

Italiano also addressed the absence of goals from striker Andrea Belotti, expressing confidence in his abilities and highlighting his dedication to the team. “We all expected a few more goals,” Italiano admitted. “He does extraordinary work for the team. We have many games left, and someone who trains and commits as he does deserves to be rewarded. He will find the opening to score; it’s just a matter of time.”

In response to criticism of the high defensive line, Italiano defended the team’s tactics, citing improvements in defensive stability compared to previous seasons. “We must look at the numbers, which don’t lie,” he argued. “We concede far fewer goals than before, showing growth. If you want to press high and regain possession near the opponent’s goal, you have to raise the defensive line and accept some risk.”

Italiano concluded with a plea for support from the fans, emphasizing the importance of unity and positivity. “We have the opportunity to achieve something extraordinary,” he urged. “Let’s set aside disagreements and complaints; our focus should be on Viktoria Plzeň. With a victory, we can reach the semi-finals of a significant competition. Let’s come together to achieve something special.”


Serie A obsessive.