Paulo Sousa: "Proud of the spirit we showed"

Paulo Sousa: "Proud of the spirit we showed"

20/03/2017 11:52

Paulo Sousa was full of praise for the way his Fiorentina side kept going right until the end in their last-gasp 1-0 win over Crotone on Sunday.

"The lads showed their spirit again today. They never stopped believing and that makes me very proud," said the Viola boss, speaking in his post-match press conference. "It’s about winning at the end of the day and it doesn’t matter how it happens – at the start or at the death. As we’ve already said, we create a lot but we need to be more clinical with our chances. We worked a number of goalscoring chances today.

"We want to give everything we have to win football matches. The spirit was spot on again today. We got the win in the end but we could have had it won far earlier. I was proud of the spirit the team showed and I think it’s very well deserved when you look at all the chances we created."

Sousa hailed the impact of Riccardo Sapanora, who entered the fray on 67 minutes and later teed up Nikola Kalinic for the all-important winner.

"Riccardo is an important player," confirmed Sousa. "His movement without the ball is great and he has a knack for getting into the box. He can score goals and supply the final ball. He’s training hard – he was recovering from an injury. He needs to keep playing in order to reach a point where he can maintain the right intensity for the full 90 minutes. That said, he really helped us today and I’m sure he will continue to do that in the future."

Sousa shrugged off praise of his in-game substitutions, insisting that decisions are part and parcel of the coach’s job.

"I was expecting the goal to come sooner to be honest, given how many chances we were creating," he explained. "I had to make a few decisions during the game. We want to win football matches so we take a view of the game, look at the players on the bench and make the calls we think are going to win us the match. We got it right today."

Fiorentina will now have some time off before regrouping for the run-in.

"We’ll enjoy a few days off now because we all need to disconnect and recoup our mental and physical energy," admitted Sousa. "I hope the internationals train well and return in peak condition so we can come back and prepare for our next match."

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