After a run of poor recent results, Fiorentina host AS Roma on Saturday knowing a positive performance could kick start their season. La Viola remain unbeaten at home but, after following up losses to Inter, Napoli and Lazio with draws against Cagliari and Torino, Stefano Pioli knows his side need to improve.
“In the last few games we did not have the right approach and if we cannot give precise passes to our attackers than we have problems in the final third,” the Coach told reporters at his pre-match press conference. “Roma are a team who play with a high defensive line so we’ll need to be very good. If we can be intense and aggressive we can get it forward quickly and hurt them. We have a lot of players who can make those key passes.
“We’ll be playing against a team that wants to dominate the play, but we’ll need to be good at managing their strength,” he continued. “We need to be on the front foot and play the Fiorentina way, according to our concepts. Sometimes opponents stop you playing as you want to, but we’ve never stopped trying to do that.”
Fiorentina are expected to once again use their preferred 4-3-3 formation, and Pioli’s hopes will be boosted by the fact he has an almost fully fit squad of players to choose from. Danish midfielder Christian Nørgaard remains the only absentee and, after being rested last time out, both Giovanni Simeone and Marko Pjaca are expected return to the starting XI. That will mean Kevin Mirallas and Valentin Eysseric will have to settle for a place on the bench, while it remains to be seen when 35-year-old striker Cyril Thereau will make his first appearance of the season.
Lining up against them will be an AS Roma side who sit level on points with the Viola, both clubs having identical records of four victories, three draws and three losses so far in 2018/19. They arrive at the Franchi having failed to register a win in either of their last two league outings, drawing with Napoli after a disappointing and surprising home loss to SPAL.
The Giallorossi could be without as many as six first team players for this clash too with Diego Perotti, Rick Karsdorp, Daniele De Rossi and Javier Pastore definitely ruled out already. They could be joined on the sidelines by Kostas Manolas and Justin Kluivert as they struggle to overcome niggling injuries but have been included in the travelling squad. Those missing names could see fringe players like Iván Marcano and Bryan Cristante could be given a chance to impress against Fiorentina.
Fiorentina (4-3-3): LaFont; Milenkovic, Pezzella, Vitor Hugo, Biraghi; Benassi, Veretout, Gerson; Chiesa, Simeone, Pjaca
AS Roma (4-2-3-1): Olsen; Florenzi, Marcano, Fazio, Kolarov; N’Zonzi, Cristante; Under, Pellegrini, El Shaarawy; Dzeko