Italiano: ‘New beginning for Fiorentina and Jovic’


Vincenzo Italiano hopes Fiorentina can use the 3-0 victory over Hearts as ‘a new beginning’ for their Conference League campaign and for Luka Jovic. ‘We took a ferocious approach from the start.’

The coach had been furious with his players all season for creating so many scoring opportunities and failing to convert them, both in Europe and Serie A.

Although this game ended 3-0 in Edinburgh, there could comfortably have been a lot more, as in the first half they had 30 attacks to eight, completing 244 passes to 80.

Rolando Mandragora had a free header, Christian Kouame scored with an acrobatic bicycle-kick from close range before Luka Jovic finally broke his goal drought from Kouame’s assist.

“We are happy to have achieves this victory away from home, where we had to take a ferocious approach from the very start,” said Italiano in his press conference.

“The second goal really got the game on track for us and we did well to control the tempo after the red card. This is how we prepared it, to come flying out of the blocks in the first minute, and that’s what we did.

“I am happy for the lads, who looked in good shape and sought out the spaces behind the defensive line. I am particularly pleased for Kouame, who has a very important attitude and team spirit. He is always at the disposal of his teammates and it is right that he is repaid with a goal.”

Jovic scored his first goal in European competition since May 2019 against Chelsea in the Europa League, a distance of 1,246 days.

“Jovic confirmed the positive signs we saw in the game against Atalanta, where he showed a different spirit. Today he confirmed that improvement, I hope the goal can be a new beginning for him and represent a boost. He needs to rediscover his smile.”

The group is now all back in the balance, as Istanbul Basaksehir lead on seven points, with Fiorentina going from bottom to second on four, then Hearts three and RFS Riga two.

“It is just the beginning and anything can happen, although I know it is not easy. I hope that from now on we can continue to grow and confirm this performance every week.

“A negative result tonight could’ve compromised everything. We started slow against Riga, so today were forced to put in the performance. I hope this victory can set the template going forward.

“It had been a while since we saw the strikers score and got an away victory, so this should boost our confidence.”

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