The Viola had a dire start to the match and barely saw the ball in the first half-hour, but turned it around by half-time with Giacomo Bonaventura and Lucas Martinez-Quarta goals.
Ademola Lookman equalised, only for Kouame to react quicker than his opponents to a loose ball from six yards.
“It doesn’t happen often that we win from a trailing situation, so after the heavy defeat against Inter we showed character to beat a team that will be in the top group again this season,” Italiano told DAZN.
The break for international duty came at a bad time for Fiorentina, straight after they were humiliated 4-0 by Inter at San Siro.
“We made so many mistakes against Inter and pretty much abandoned the match in the final half-hour. That hurt us and we spent the last two weeks between sulking and controversy. We wanted to prove ourselves and we did it today.
“We really needed this victory and I particularly love it when the substitutes score.”
Kouame was the one who came off the bench to grab the winner, his first goal of the season.
“He is a great team player and has the spirit of a more mature guy. Whether he plays from the start or comes off the bench, he always maintains the same mentality. We can trust him, because we know he will never let us down.”
There were a few grumbles from the crowd at the Stadio Franchi today, especially with some behind the bench who were criticising M’Bala Nzola.
According to the DAZN pitchside reporters, Italiano turned to them and replied: ‘If he attacked the space, he’d be at Barcelona.’
Considering he worked with Italiano at three different clubs, what does Nzola bring?
“He just needs to keep doing the work he did today, but clearly if he added a goal on top then that would be perfect,” explained the coach.
“What he needs to do is to work with his back to the goal and I am convinced he will do improve. He just needs to stay calm, both Nzola and Beltran, as eventually the goals will come.”