Fattori and Guagni preview Champions League bow

Fattori and Guagni preview Champions League bow

03/10/2017 21:27

Fiorentina Women’s FC coach Sauro Fattori and defender Alia Guagni called on the Viola to rise to the occasion as the team prepares to face Fortuna Hjorring in the Champions League Round of 32 on Wednesday.

"Tomorrow is a very important game for Fiorentina," began Fattori, speaking at the pre-match press conference on Tuesday. "It’s the first time that we’re participating in what we all know is a huge competition. We’re up against a great side and we’ll need the support from the fans. Obviously, it’s up to us to help them get behind us and cheer us on until the end."

The coach stressed the need for the team to put a difficult start to the season behind them and focus on their European debut.

"We definitely need to find renewed spirit for this competition," he said. "The only bad performance was in the Super Cup, because we got the late draw against Verona after playing well. That should boost our confidence because it shows how important it is to have belief. We have high expectations but slip-ups happen in football – Verona is only a little blip. I’m happy with the team and I’m sure we’ll bounce back."

Guagni expressed her satisfaction at the prospect of making her debut in Europe’s premier club competition.

"This is the first time I’ve had a chance to play in the Champions League and I’m delighted to be able to do so for Fiorentina because it’s been my dream ever since I was little," she said. "I’m really happy. If given the opportunity I’ll give it my all because it’s a huge game for the team. We’ve had a tricky start to the season, but we’re up for this, we’re desperate to show what we can do and we’ll do that tomorrow.

"Participating in these games is great for the team’s experience. We have lots of girls that have never played in the Champions League and lots of youngsters too that don’t have much international experience either. It will help us to grow, which is what we need. We might not have much of a chance of winning the Champions League this year but these experiences help to shape you, to introduce you to different types of football and to keep progressing."

Fattori was similarly realistic about his side’s prospects in the competition this year, but called for Fiorentina to believe in themselves ahead of the game.

"Tomorrow we need to try and play our game and look to win the match – there is no doubt about that," he said. "We know there is the return leg and if it doesn’t go well for us tomorrow we need to stay alive for that game. Fortuna have some great players but if we want to get better we need to test ourselves against these teams. We need to remember that we’re here in this competition because we did great things last year. Participating in this competition is a reward, but we want to double our winnings!"

The boss was quick to bat away suggestions that Fortuna represent a manageable draw for Fiorentina, pointing to the Danish side’s European experience as the main point in their favour.

"It’s true that people said it could have gone worse, perhaps because the name didn’t ring a bell, but in reality they are a very good side indeed," he said. "One of the best in Europe and therefore the world. That needs to give us an added impetus – it’s good to start playing these teams as it gives us a chance to figure out how good we are in the international context. We hope to produce a top performance: you always start at 0-0 in football so we’ll see what happens."

Guagni underlined the physical threat the Danes pose, but called for the Viola to stick to what they know.

"We’ve analysed several Fortuna matches and we know that our mentality needs to be spot on," she said. "Physically they’ll get at us from the off and look to press us high up the field. They will try to put the running in and use their strength. We need to use our strengths to our advantage – tactics and technical skill."

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