Italian Football News

Why Italiano finally picked the same Fiorentina

Vincenzo Italiano explains why after 141 Fiorentina matches, he finally picked the same starting XI for the 0-0 draw with Torino. ‘Thank goodness we didn’t lose.’

The game started with a surprise, as for the first time since taking charge of the Viola in 2021, Italiano picked the same starting XI for two matches in a row, ending the run of 141 different line-ups.

“Thank goodness we didn’t lose,” joked Italiano on Sky Sport Italia.

“I thought the XI that did so well against Lazio deserved to keep their places. We did however change a few functions of these players, as for example Lucas Beltran was more of a pure striker today, as we needed him alongside Belotti. They were the same players, but with different functions.”

It all seemed to be going their way, as Duvan Zapata saw a goal disallowed for a push on Nikola Milenkovic and Samuele Ricci was harshly sent off for dissent on the stroke of half-time.

However, they were still unable to break down the 10-man Granata and this will feel like a missed opportunity, especially going into the Conference League with Maccabi Haifa on Thursday.

“The regret is that we should’ve done far more with the extra man, but if Torino focus only on defending, they become very difficult to break down. It is a point, let us try to look on the bright side.

“Unfortunately, this happens when two very similar teams face off, they can neutralise each other and the game becomes ugly. It’s our seventh game against Torino and they’ve pretty much all been like this.”

It ended with ugly scenes, as Ivan Juric was sent off and Italiano booked for a touchline row, but La Repubblica and Sky Sport Italia report the Torino coach made a ‘throat-slitting’ gesture and similar phrase when storming off.

“I didn’t see any gesture. I think he misunderstood my intentions, I was talking to the fourth official, adrenaline can do strange things to you in those situations. It’s fine, it is not the first time it happened, we shake hands and carry on.”

Italiano later did precisely that, interrupting Juric’s interview with Sky Sport Italia to hug the Torino coach and put the tension behind them.

“Rather than controversy, I want this image to be the one that is shown and that people remember over the next week.”

#Fiorentina, #Italiano: “L’arbitraggio fa parte del gioco: nel secondo tempo potevamo recriminare qualcosa noi”

— Gianluca Di Marzio (@DiMarzio) March 2, 2024

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