Paulo Sousa: "We didn’t control the game"

Paulo Sousa: "We didn’t control the game"

15/04/2017 20:33

Fiorentina boss Paulo Sousa admitted his side had failed to control the game against Empoli as they were beaten 2-1 by their regional neighbours on Saturday afternoon.

"We picked players with the ability to win the game, even if that meant relinquishing a bit of control. Unfortunately, that idea didn’t help us win the match today," said the Viola coach in his post-match press conference.

"We made the decision to get players on the pitch who could create chances and score goals. We knew that would lead to a risk that we’d lose a bit of control in our play, especially with Empoli playing with a midfield diamond. That said, the players we had on the pitch were capable of creating and scoring goals. From the off, you could see that every time we failed to take a chance they were causing us problems.

"When you play with this kind of players and you lose the ball or miss a chance, your play without the ball is less intense and your defending isn’t as strong in the one on ones. Having said that, we made that decision. It wasn’t a positive one."

It was a match strewn with controversial refereeing decisions, but Sousa was reticent to condemn the officiating.

"There are always mistakes, sometimes more and sometimes less," he said. "The only thing I want to say is that after a poor refereeing performance they shouldn’t just leave without saying anything to anyone. That was a shame."

Sousa also explained his decision to bring off Riccardo Saponara and Federico Bernandeschi after 60 minutes.

"Riccardo and Federico are players that provide quality but they often mean you have less control over the play, over the tempo of the play," he explained. "That said, they are players that create chances and score goals. It wasn’t their day today so that’s why they came off."

The Fiorentina boss went on to set out what he expects from his side between now and the end of the season.

"We have to do our job," he said. "We need to fight until the end to be competitive and win every game. We need to work hard during the week. Those that deserve it will play. Those that don’t show me that they’re competing in every match won’t play. I’ll pick other players and that’s how it’ll be until the end of the season."

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