Fiorentina have got off to a good start under new coach Paolo Sousa who has taken over from Vincenzo Montella. We beat Barcelona and Chelsea in the International Champions Cup. Yesterday we faced a rejuvenated Milan under Sinisa Mihajovic who once managed here. He has spent €90m on new players to restore the fortunes of the Rossoneri who like Inter were a mid-table team last season.
The Viola have not paid out nearly as much but there has been quite a shake up. Neto, Pizarro, Savic, Salah, Aquilani have all gone and in come Suarez, Gilberto, Astori and Kailinic, who once played for Blackburn.
I was unimpressed by the Milan defence particularly Ely who was booked early on for a foul on Kalinic and another foul on the same player saw him red carded. By then Viola had deservedly taken the lead from a free kick from Alonso. A second, a penalty from Ilacic, put the game well beyond Milan as Viola strolled to a comfortable victory.
I was not the biggest fan of Sousa. Previously at Swansea, Maccabi Tel Aviv and Basel, he has never managed the club in serie a nor one the size of Fiorentina. Added to this that he was one Juve’s player of the year then I rather feared the stability under Montella would end. So far so good and he also advocates a passing game, perhaps an over elaborate one like Arsenal. One player you will hear more about is Federico Bernardeschi. A nineteen year old for whom Fiorentina have had high hopes as he has been with us since he was nine he was given the illustrious number 10 shirt worn by Antognoni, Baggio and Rui Costa. Rich in skills and technique he is exactly the type of regista (playmaker) that Fiorentina needed. Borja Valero and Badelj will anchor the midfield whilst Iliacic is continuing where he left off last season with 9 goals. I feel we could benefit from a top class defender and another forward. With Juventus losing for the first time ever their first game at home, I believe it will be less of the procession for the “old lady” and a more competitive scudetto in which The Viola will play a part.