Pioli hails Fiorentina after battling win

Pioli hails Fiorentina after battling win

15/10/2017 17:24

Stefano Pioli praised his Fiorentina side after they made a winning return to Serie A with a 2-1 victory over Udinese at the Stadio Artemio Franchi on Sunday lunchtime.

There was a nervous finale for the Viola against Gigi Delneri’s side, after Samir pulled one back for Udinese late on, with Pioli acknowledging that his team should have been home and dry long before the final whistle.

"In the last 20 minutes today – and against Atalanta – we had chances to put the game to bed," he said, speaking at his post-match press conference. "You have to dig in, work hard and strike when the time is right. We could have scored a third goal and spared ourselves the tight finish, but in a way I’m more happy to have won 2-1 than I would have been had we won 3-0."

The Viola coach expressed his satisfaction with his team’s performance, but called for them to keep the concentration levels high to avoid more late tension.

"I think the team played well," he said. "We showed character and quality, we created lots of chances and our positioning allowed us to gain the upper hand. We played the whole half in their half of the field. We need to maintain that approach – that mentality – for the entire game, especially the attacking players. That goes for when we’re attacking them and for when we lose the ball, because they’re the ones who lay down the marker for how intense our pressing game is going to be. If they drop off then the whole team gets deeper and when that happens we’re more at risk.

"This was a very important match because we had to dig in to get the win. We need to work on our mentality. The 5-0 win over Verona was a unique game when everything went right for us and nothing went right for the opposition. We need to get used to gritting our teeth and digging in."

Pioli also admitted that his players need to find more confidence in their ability, but stressed that results like Sunday’s are the only way to make that happen.

"We need to build up more confidence, conviction and belief, but the only way to do that is through hard work and results," he said. "We need to make sure we secure the results that will give us belief in our ability. It’s been a strange international week and we were coming off the back of our worst performance of the season – our only bad performance in my eyes. We worked hard but it was a long break, so we were desperate to get out onto the field. We played well but I think what we need is results to get that confidence. I’m sure today will give us plenty of food for thought – in a positive sense."

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