Vincenzo Montella admits Giuseppe Rossi’s rapid return to form has “surprised even us” as they visit Atalanta this afternoon.
The Viola won 3-0 on Thursday against Pacos Ferreira in the Europa League, while in Serie A their 100 per cent record was ruined only by a last-gasp Cagliari equaliser.
Today at 14.00 UK time (13.00 GMT) they go to the Stadio Azzurri d’Italia in Bergamo. Click here for a match preview.
“There are two difficult away games coming up for us and we’ll face them without three very important players,” said the Coach referring to Mario Gomez, Juan Guillermo Cuadrado and the suspended David Pizarro.
“Nonetheless, we are a strong side who can adapt and we don’t want alibis. We want to prove ourselves. Our limitation is that we don’t know how to defend deep, as we’re not used to doing it. If with time we can improve that too, then we can grow further.”
Rossi spent two years out of action with a series of knee problems, but is back with a bang and four goals in five competitive games this season.
“He is healthy and in good shape. In these cases there is the risk of a muscular injury, as unconsciously you do try to push harder. We have a tiny fear he’s pushing himself too much, but as for his consistency that has surprised even us.
“Will Rebic play against Atalanta? He is a very intelligent player who is able to pick up things very quickly, which is helping him to settle in, but he has had very few training sessions with us so far. It might be premature.
“Joaquin certainly needs to settle into a new mentality here and the different tempo. People always want everything straight away, but with some players it requires a little time and I’m not worried.
“Mati Fernandez did very well on Thursday and not every team has a 12th man as valuable as Mati at their disposal. He is very important for us.
“I don’t know how Atalanta will set out against us, because they have already changed system several times in these three games. They are certainly a mature side with an experienced Coach in Stefano Colantuono.
“It’ll be tough, tactical and intense.”
Think you know your Italian football? Share your knowledge, tips and comments to win cash prizes in OLBG's tipster competition - £11,000 to be won monthly!