Vincenzo Italiano and Cristiano Biraghi insist Dusan Vlahovic did not refuse to take the Fiorentina penalty, they simply decided it was better for the captain to step up.
There was controversy in the 3-0 victory over Cagliari at the Stadio Franchi, as when it was still goalless, the Viola were awarded a penalty.
Rather than the usual taker Vlahovic, after a brief discussion, it was Biraghi who stepped up to convert.
It was reported that the Serbian had refused the responsibility, while others suggested Biraghi had heard the jeers from fans before kick-off due to the contract dispute and took the ball off Vlahovic.
Speaking to DAZN after the game, Biraghi assured there was no tension.
“Vlahovic is the penalty taker and I am the second choice, while usually I take the free kicks. Today we swapped,” said the captain.
“It’s not that he didn’t feel ready for it, as Dusan may be young, but he’s got remarkable character. If he didn’t, then he would not have put in that performance.”
Fiorentina coach Italiano also spoke to DAZN about the incident, maintaining there was no plan to deal with the jeers from fans.
“There are three or four in training who can do it, so whoever feels ready can step up. I don’t want arguments over the ball, whoever feels ready should take it and today Biraghi felt ready. As long as the three or four agree between themselves calmly the way they did today, it’s fine with me.
“Vlahovic takes penalties well, Biraghi showed a cool head today, as it’s not easy when it’s 0-0.”
“I ask the lads to always have that determination and desire to make the difference. Dusan knows in recent games he wasn’t at his best, so it’s only right everyone reacts after back-to-back defeats. Everyone gave their contribution today, Vlahovic is one of the most reliable free kick takers in practice sessions.
“Defeats are the worst moments for a coach and players, as for the next week until we play again, the tension is there, you feel confidence shaking. I am happy to have a team that is all for one and one for all.”
Italiano also singled our Riccardo Saponara for praise after he hit the crossbar and provided an assist for Nicolas Gonzalez.
“I am very satisfied with Ricky’s performance, as I am convinced he can make his mark at Fiorentina this season.
“He works hard, never complains, he shares the ideas of the team and staff. I am glad he put in this superlative performance in his first start, he almost scored a stunning goal, and all three upfront moved in the right way.”