Pioli reacts to Opel Cup victory

Pioli reacts to Opel Cup victory

05/08/2018 19:09

Stefano Pioli said there were plenty of positives to take from the Viola's display in the Opel Cup on Sunday – pointing to the quality of his side's football in the first mini-match and their character in the second.

Fiorentina drew both 45-minute encounters 0-0, before losing to Athletic Bilbao and beating Mainz on penalties. However, with Mainz defeating Bilbao in a shootout in the other game, the Viola were awarded the trophy by virtue of having had the most shots on goal.

Afterwards, the boss went on to comment on recent signings Gerson and Christian Norgaard and further possible arrivals.

On the Opel Cup victory...

“I thought we looked really good in the first game against Bilbao. We held our shape well, moved the ball around nicely and fashioned lots of openings. We're still lacking a bit of fitness and I think that's why we weren't as clinical as we could have been but we were playing a decent side and I think we performed well.

“The second match was harder for us, partly because we had to wait for 45 minutes and then get going again, which is not easy in this heat. But, as I always say to the players, when we're not at the top of our game technically and tactically we have to dig deep – and these lads never give up. The victory was a result of our determination to stay in the game.”

On Gerson and Norgaard...

“They're getting better by the day as they spend more time training with us and understand things better. Gerson is obviously at an advantage because he knows Serie A already and speaks Italian well. It's a bit harder for Christian [Norgaard]. When you don't speak the same language as your team-mates on the pitch it can take that bit longer – time you don't always have.

“We're improving and we need to make the most of these last two weeks to try and reach the level we want to be at on 19 August when the league begins because we have a tough match to start with [away to Sampdoria]. We want to show we're up to the task.”

On new signings...

“We've brought in [Kevin] Mirallas now and there may be some more coming next week. The basic shape and philosophy are in place and I think anyone else arriving will be able to settle in a bit more quickly because the rest of the team have been playing together for a year. We're certainly starting with stronger foundations than last season and I don't think any of our players have peaked yet so there's lots of room for improvement.

“We know it's going to be a really tough league because there are six teams who are clearly a notch above the rest, but every game starts 0-0 and 11 v 11. More often than not the team that plays better wins and we'll try to play well.”

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