Montella looking forward to “big test” at Cagliari

Montella looking forward to “big test” at Cagliari

10/11/2019 09:41

Vincenzo Montella acknowledged that Fiorentina’s Sunday lunchtime kick-off at Cagliari will be a tough test for his young side as he appeared at his pre-match press conference on Saturday – but the Viola boss is looking forward to seeing what kind of performance his team can produce in Sardinia.

“It’s going to be a great match because we’re up against a side that’s in great form, with loads of enthusiasm,” said Montella. “The whole region is behind them and the stadium will be full. The pitch is a bit tighter than usual in Serie A so for me that will help a pressing game – it’s at least four metres smaller than our pitch. It’s a big test for us because it will show us where we are. I think Cagliari’s ambitions were laid clear when they used the [Nicolo] Barella money well to sign three top players: [Radja] Nainggolan, [Robin] Olsen, who has international pedigree… I’m really looking forward to the game and we want to produce the right performance.”

Montella also gave an update on his team news ahead of the game at the Sardegna Arena.

“Virtually the whole squad is fit,” he confirmed. “[Martin] Caceres is back with the group so we need to assess him: his fitness is there but we need to look at his stamina. The rest of the squad is fine. [Riccardo] Sottil is carrying a little knock from training the other day, but we’re expecting to have him back. We’ll assess him today.”

The Fiorentina coach went on to pinpoint the Cagliari midfield as the main strength of Rolando Maran’s side, who have won widespread plaudits after a blistering start to the season.

“I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that Cagliari are turning out to be the surprise of the season,” he said. “They’re living up to and perhaps surpassing the expectations – a bit like us, though we have fewer points. I see their midfield as their biggest strength: they have six top players and I don’t think they have any reason to envy any other team. [Nahitan] Nandez doesn’t always play, [Artur] Ionita doesn’t always play, [Cigarini] doesn’t always play… so they have at least six, or seven including Joao Pedro, players in that area of the field that few other teams can match. That’s the engine room for the intensity of their play.”

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