Vincenzo Italiano couldn’t hide his disappointment following a 4-0 defeat to Inter: “This is not Fiorentina, we played 50 minutes very badly.” La Viola were brushed aside by a dominant Inter side who wasted a series of chance to make the score-line even more damaging. In his post-match presser, Italiano accepted the blame, saying the defeat was on him and that he shouldered the majority of the responsibility:
“After the first goal we didn’t manage to react anymore, we didn’t do anything we wanted and we kind of disappeared from the game. We disappeared both physically and mentally. Today we showed, beyond my ideals and principles, that those who are not one hundred per cent cannot set foot on the pitch. I wanted to think differently, I wanted to reward those with great enthusiasm. Instead in this category you have to be one hundred per cent. I take a lot of responsibility: it’s happened to me very few times to send those who weren’t one hundred per cent on the pitch and today I made a mistake. Today is a negative game, we’ll put it behind us and we know that this is not Fiorentina.
“Are we weakened after the mercato? Important players have left and others have arrived who in my opinion can give us a lot, it’s not 60 minutes done badly that make you change the programme or change your mind about what we have done. There was great agreement with the club, it was decided to intervene where we thought it should be done. t. We will be able to restart, we always have, without clinging to alibis or situations. We won’t show these flashes of matches again, we are not these and I am convinced of that.”
“What will I say to the players? I have already spoken two minutes to the team and said that the responsibility is mine in full, for some decisions. However, we cannot go out of the game and some, I won’t name names, were not 100 per cent physically. Then, if on a mental level someone manages to make up for it, it’s great. The thing that makes me calm is that we are at the beginning, and I repeat: as happened last year, so much of our preparation in these months has been aimed at overcoming this Conference League round. That’s no excuse for a 4-0 defeat, but we’re just at the beginning and I’m convinced we’ll make up for it: if a team does everything it can to get through the preliminary round and make it to the group stage, you won’t hear me say we’ve been preparing for two days. We wanted this rhythm here and we won’t have to have any more alibis: we will have to be good in these rhythms, Thursday’s game has nothing to do with it: we plugged it up and we will try not to do it again.
“I liked the first 20-25 minutes that we played, although we were never able to be dangerous. We approached the match well, that’s the only positive aspect. Then we shot few times on goal, we conceded too many counter attacks and too much space. We worked badly on preventions, on their transitions, and it was right to lose. I liked the starting approach and we took it away: it hasn’t happened to me often, since I’ve been here, to come out of a match like that.
“The only thing I regret is that someone is leaving for the national teams. We wanted to give an extra day, but we took it off to speed up this process. I am convinced that we will put something in: the boys have understood our way of playing football, what we want to do. We have to get to an optimal condition, a lot of minutes in the legs and then, once the physical condition is in place, we may not show this kind of performance. We may lose a few more games, but the feeling of not being dangerous must not happen again’.
Once the market is over, is Fiorentina ready to go and attack the seven teams that came in above?
“I don’t know, it’s not just in these two years that the top seven always arrive in those positions. It’s 10-15 years that they are always the same, they share the first six-seven places and then the others arrive. We have tried to chase them, to catch up, and we will see what will happen: the big teams have always arrived there, teams that have other objectives. Then there’s us who have to try to close the gap, I don’t know how many games, I don’t know how many occasions: we’ll see if, as we grow, we can bother those in front.”