When Uros of Viola Nation reached out to do a preview for this Sunday's match I jumped at the chance. Now we share it with you!
Visiting Team First:
1. What would you consider to be Fiorentina’s biggest challenge this season?
This may sound vague, but the biggest challenge is to prove Fiorentina is a serious team, a team that can cope with the pressure of aiming for big goals. So far, it seems there are some problems, but I believe there is quality in the team, and that Fiorentina can mount a serious challenge for top three and get far in Europa League.
2. Has Montella’s "new guy on the street" luster worn off or is he still innovating tactically?
Well, the hype -- it has worn off. But that's the thing with hype, isn't it, whether we're talking about football coaches or whatever. Soon it goes away. I don't think that means that his knowledge has worn off. It's harder to surprise other teams, they adapted, but I think Montella is adapting to that. He still isn't shying away from changing the formations depending on the ideas he has for the game in question. Obviously, the start of season wasn't the most convincing one, but I still think he's the best coach for Fiorentina.
3. What do you make of Guiseppe’s Rossi injury.
Rossi was a typical piece of business by Fiorentina Director of Football, Daniele Prade - risky investment in an obviously talented but injured player. I think everyone at Fiorentina knew the risks, even though they were hoping Rossi would have more luck. Besides his talent, another admirable thing about Rossi is his ambition and love for the game, thanks to which he always gets back. We cannot know if he'll ever be the same as he was, but he'll be back and he'll still give all he has.
4. Milan is, like Fiorentina, still far from being able to challenge for the scudetto. The goal is that third place, and there are 4 candidates [Milan, Inter, Napoli, Fiorentina]. It's still too early, but who do you see as the favorite and why?
Individually, I think Napoli has the most quality, but the question is if they can translate that into results. I think it will be a really exciting battle, and I think that despite the not so great start to the campaign Napoli and Inter, and Fiorentina too, are going to be up there until the very end. Based on present form, Milan has to be a favorite, though.
5. Prediction for the match on Sunday?
I'm terrible at predicting, yet I always do it anyway. I am hoping for another Fiorentina win, but my gut tells me it's going to be 2-2.
We finish with my response to Urus:
1. Arrival [or rather, promotion] of Filippo Inzaghi brought much more optimism among AC Milan fans, after a bad last season. What is it that changed - is it that new signings are that good that they made the team that much better, are Inzaghi's tactical tweaks what did the job or was it something else?
Under Allegri Milan seemed to be playing against themselves, constantly beating themselves with errors and lack of confidence. The player attrition didn’t help, but it certainly was a factor. Under Seedorf there was immense pressure and the tactics were simply terrible. No plan, no direction, just stubborn usage of a flawed system. With Inzaghi it has very much been a clean slate and the team is far better for it. While some players have picked up their game the new outlook has been refreshing.
2. Milan is, like Fiorentina, still far from being able to challenge for the scudetto. The goal is that third place, and there are 4 candidates [Milan, Inter, Napoli, Fiorentina]. It's still too early, but who do you see as the favorite and why?
I still see Napoli as the favorite simply from a personnel a standpoint, and if you has asked me in week one it would have been a very answer. Napoli hand’s down. Now as the season has gone on I am leaning towards Milan, and while I am normally not an optimist, i think this team has the fortitude and mentality to make it happen. Not playing in Europe will help as well.
3. Milan is much more efficient in front of the goal this season, but some defensive problems stayed. Do you think Inzaghi is on the right track to get that problem out of the way?
No I do not, that problem goes beyond the Coach. When Adil Rami, who is average at your best, is your first name on the team sheet; it is safe to say you have problems in defense. Milan need a leader at CB and with that will come solidarity in defense. Pippa can mask some of the problems with the right midfield personnel but in the end the position of center back is far to weak to make Milan a real contender for anything more than third place.
4. Fiorentina managed to leave San Siro victorious in the three previous seasons. Do you think that will have any influence on the Sunday's game, can it be a sort of a mental barrier for Milan players, or perhaps it will make them even more motivated? If not that, what could in fact be the deciding factor in this match?
Fiorentina is very much Milan’s boogey man. I think there is a bit of confidence on Montella’s part and he can say we have done it this not one cut three times and can do it again. Milan, in my opinion, needs to stay out of that game and simply go out there and play a good efficient ninety minutes. If they can do that the result will come, but if they panic then Fiorentina will be the favorites.
5. If you could take one Fiorentina player in to the Milan's squad for the Sunday's match, who would that be?
With Milan’s problems in defense it would have to be Stefan Savic.
6. Prediction for the match on Sunday?
Ha, I don’t do predictions! Never have never will, but best of luck on Sunday and hoping for a great match!