Vincenzo Italiano breathes a sigh of relief as Fiorentina ‘finally beat Lazio’ after thinking they were cursed. ‘The attitude was extraordinary and the strategy paid off.’

The Tuscans had a remarkably poor record against this opponent, winning just one of their last 14 competitive meetings and losing 10 before this turnaround.

“Finally we managed to beat Lazio after three years,” sighed Italiano on Sky Sport Italia.

“I feel immense joy, because aside from getting back to winning ways, it was a fantastic performance from the lads and we caused huge problems for a Lazio side that had been tough for us.”

The Viola thought they were cursed at the Stadio Franchi when hitting the woodwork three times in the first half, then going behind to a Luis Alberto goal just before the break.

They then equalised through Michael Kayode – whose effort also went in off the underside of the crossbar – before Nico Gonzalez fired a penalty against the upright.

However, Giacomo Bonaventura won the game by turning in the rebound from an Ivan Provedel save to finally secure three points, which allow Fiorentina to leapfrog Lazio into seventh place.

“We had prepared something different with Beltran’s position, having Bonaventura a bit deeper than previous games, and it brought three points. Everyone sacrificed themselves and pushed hard, when you play with this focus, quality and mentality, it pays off. The attitude of the lads was extraordinary, as missing a penalty could’ve really killed us.

“The plan was not allowing Lazio to counter-attack, we thought the more we had the ball at our feet, the less danger we would face. Beltran and Bonaventura were connecting the midfield and defence.”

When Kayode scored the equaliser, Italiano was entirely impassive on the touchline, then refused to watch the Nico Gonzalez penalty.

“We are accustomed to some ugly surprises, especially in the final minutes. You can never relax against Lazio, as they have such quality and only need one moment of magic from their forwards to change a game. I asked Nico what was happening with the penalties, he swore he will convert the next one. He promised. If he misses again, he’s in trouble!

“I am so happy for the lads and saw them celebrate in the locker room like the old days. When you prepare a match and see it work on the field, that is immensely satisfying. This was a much better performance than we’ve had recently, we had several steps forward in terms of attitude and quality, and those are the elements that win you games.”

It also feels like a crossroads for the Viola, because they had not won a Serie A match when trailing at half-time since May 2023 against Roma.

Since then, they had earned only two points from the 10 matches where they were behind at the break.

Italiano has famously never picked the same starting XI twice at Fiorentina, so could he perhaps keep this line-up going forward?

“It is a very, very tough month coming up with the Conference League and Coppa Italia. Everyone today earned themselves more minutes in future, as watching them play so well makes a coach happy. It also depends on the opponent and the strategy paid off today, but we have various alternatives including a three-man defence. It is good for a team to have options.”

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