Italiano: ‘Fiorentina expected anything except Juventus win’

Fiorentina boss Vincenzo Italiano admits he expected ‘anything except losing the game’ to Juventus in stoppages with an own goal. ‘What angers me is that we are not converting our chances.’

It was an incredibly unlucky performance for the Viola, as not only did they dominate the Coppa Italia semi-final and hit the woodwork with Jonathan Ikone, but they also lost in stoppages to a Lorenzo Venuti own goal.

Juan Cuadrado’s cross was deflected by a fresh-air Nikola Milenkovic clearance, ricocheted off helpless Venuti and into the net from point-blank range.

“Unfortunately, we continue to not be sharp in the final minutes of games where we don’t break the deadlock and then lose. It happened with Sassuolo, again tonight,” Italiano told Mediaset.

“I don’t know what more I can ask of the team, we had 22 shots on goal, allowed hardly anything at the back. This is our first year working together, it’s going well, but we are lacking that cherry on the cake. There is still a second leg and we’ll go to Turin to play our game.”

The decider in Turin is some time around April 20, still to be scheduled, and the away goals rule applies.

“It was important to keep a clean sheet, conceding one like that is very painful. There are another 90 minutes to go, we will try to have this same spirit and create as many chances as we did this evening, then see what happens.

“The problem is that when you work to create so much, you want to get games on the right track early so you can then control the match. If the game stays alive, Juve will punish you at the first error.

“This is the performance we wanted, and even if it had ended 0-0, we still would’ve needed a goal in the second leg. So the result changes, but we must play the same way and try to get a better result than this evening.”

Ikone had the best opportunity when he hit the upright of an open goal after seemingly doing the hard work in controlling and shaking off his marker.

“It’s a problem we’ve had since the start of the season, as the wingers work so hard, they create so much, they need to believe in themselves a be a bit more decisive in the final third,” continued the coach.

“Ikone had a good game, but he could’ve scored two goals against Sassuolo, another two here, we need to get it into his head that goals are important.”

After dominating for 80 minutes, Fiorentina started to look a little tired and Juve struck with the all-important away goal.

“You need to be more wide awake, sense the danger and be ready. We don’t do that and we are regularly punished for that.

“It felt like anything could’ve happened this evening except losing the game. What angers me more is that we are not converting our chances and our domination into goals. I told the lads, that means we still have a lot more work to do and games are there to be won.”

Vlahovic was kept largely quiet by his former teammates, despite missing injured Matija Nastasic and suspended Lucas Martinez Quarta.

“The defenders did well, as Juve had Dusan, Alvaro Morata, Moise Kean, so they did really well. I had a good rapport with Dusan, I think he has improved a great deal, he will continue to grow and I wish him all the best.”

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