Fiorentina welcome Sampdoria to the Stadio Artemio Franchi on Wednesday evening, the fixture surprisingly seeing the bottom two teams in the Serie A table go head-to-head. The visitors have three points, while their hosts have one fewer, their current situation making this a must-win encounter for La Viola.
Coach Vincenzo Montella appears undaunted by his side’s predicament however, using his pre-match press conference to clarify the difference between performances and results. “The lack of victories isn’t weighing on me, even if – looking at the fixture list – we could’ve picked up more points,” the boss told reporters on Tuesday morning. “We must remain calm because we’re on the right path and are laying important foundations.
“There needs to be fairness in the way this run is analysed,” Montella continued. “I want to win, but I don’t feel the anxiety of needing to win, I certainly don’t feel pressured by the club. I’m not looking at the table as it’s too early for that and we’re in trouble because of results, not because of the way we are playing.”
Indeed, anyone who has watched the team’s games so far this term cannot fail to agree with him. Fiorentina’s winless run is now their worst since 1938, but aside from the debacle of losing to Genoa, they have been vastly improved each time they have stepped on the field. Unlucky to lose to Napoli, the Viola were excellent in holding Juventus to a 0-0 draw and are not the first team to be pegged back by the current version of Atalanta.
Those fixtures pitted Fiorentina against each of last season’s top three teams in Serie A but, if we can excuse negative results in those matches, then it is time for Montella to deliver wins against the divisions lesser sides. That must start in a home clash with an abjectly poor Sampdoria outfit who lost to Lazio, Napoli and Sassuolo before registering a surprising victory over Torino last weekend.
Boss Eusebio Di Francesco has just one confirmed absentee as Gonzalo Maroni remains out with an injury, but Bartosz Bereszynski may be required to play in a back three as Alex Ferrari is not fully fit. Elsewhere, Emiliano Rigoni is battling for a starting spot up front, together with Fabio Quagliarella and Manolo Gabbiadini as the away side look to build upon the positives from their win in Turin.
Meanwhile, after the good performance against Atalanta, Montella is expected to name an unchanged XI here, keeping the 3-5-2 formation that saw both forwards get on the scoresheet against Atalanta. Franck Ribery will almost certainly partner Federico Chiesa again up top, while the Coach also revealed that Brazilian striker Pedro and on-loan Leicester City man Rachid Ghezzal are still not fully fit.