It was a good weekend for the football group on the Rust. On Friday Fulham produced their best performance for many years in beating QPR, on Saturday Ivan’s Brighton are still top of the Championship and last night we beat Inter, the league leaders at San Siro 4-1.
This is the first time that la Viola have been “capolista” ( the league leaders ) since 1999 and much praise is due to manager Paolo Sousa. I was not so enthusiastic about this choice after Montella left. English readers will recall that he did well against Swansea when they finished seventh, less so at QPR and Leicester. Then he managed in Hungary, Maccabi Tel Aviv and Basel achieving success but they are lesser clubs than Fiorentina. It’s always difficult to know whether managers will make the step up. Arsene Wenger was managing in Japan when he was brought to Arsenal. The list of those who never made the upgrade is a longer one.
One of the attractions of the lesser known manager is that they do not insist on a huge budget for transfers. Sousa has improved cautiously. He acquired Nicola Kalinic, who had a couple of seasons at Blackburn from Dnipro to lead the line after Salah refused to sign and Gomez never really bit it off. Joaquín left. In came Gilberto from Botofago, Suarez from Atletico Madrid, Aqualani going the other way. Best of all he signed Borussia Dortmund’s midfielder Blasykowski on loan. Sousa favours the passing possession game and he has built the side around Borja Valero.
We scored against Inter in the first minute when their keeper Handanovic upended Kalinic and Ilicic converted the penalty. Kalinic added two more before half time and with Inter defender Miranda red carded the result looked in little doubt . The best way to play 11 against 10 is to retain possession. That way you tire out the opposition and Fiorentina did so intelligently. A fourth was added by Kalinic for his hat trick in the second half. So Fiorentina go top. With Juve only getting 5 points the table has an unusual look. I do think Fiorentina can keep this up but we must stay free of injuries.