Vincenzo Montella saw positives in Fiorentina’s draw with Esbjerg, but admits Juventus would be “the last team” he’d pick to face.
The 1-1 result today saw the Viola go through 4-2 on aggregate and they will take on Juve in the Europa League Round of 16.
“It was important to give a sense of consistency to some players. We controlled the first half and the tempo was low, but after the break we raised the tempo a little for 15 minutes and scored,” Montella told Sky Sport Italia.
“It’s a shame for that goal at the end, as it is always a pity not to get the victory when you have the chances.”
Mario Gomez had his first start since suffering knee ligament damage in September and played the entire match.
“Gomez is not in any condition to play for 90 minutes usually, but the tempo was so low tonight I thought he could manage it. I kept him there because I know full well what it feels like to go without a goal for a long time and I really hoped it would arrive tonight – which it almost did!
“I saw a good response in terms of mentality from the squad. With the type of football we play, we need sharp minds and to ensure the same players don’t play every three days. Now we’re getting some others back we can rotate the squad more effectively.”
Now the Viola face their arch-rivals Juventus in the Round of 16, which many see as an early battle between favourites for the trophy.
“Juventus are certainly the strongest team in Italy. For us it is an important challenge and a very difficult one. If I could’ve chosen anyone from the teams in the competition, then Juve would’ve been the last.”
Think you know your Italian football? Share your knowledge, tips and comments to win cash prizes in OLBG's World Cup tipster competition - £10,000 to be won!