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Fiorentina shower Salah with praise: He’s ‘gone beyond expectations’
Following Mohamed Salah’s winning goal at Inter Milan on Sunday – a fixture the Viola hadn’t won for 15 years – the 22-year-old Egyptian international hit a brace at the Juventus Stadium four days later to end the Old Lady’s 47-game unbeaten run at home.
Having now scored 6 goals in 7 appearances since joining La Viola, Fiorentina coach Vincenzo Montella, sporting director Daniele Pradè and teammates continued the trend of showering the Egyptian with praise.
“The team has reached a certain level of maturity and after some time together the players understand me and I understand them,” the Viola boss told Rai Sport, as translated by Football Italia.
“It was a great performance, starting from the strikers, who also worked well in defence. They all knew we could only achieve the result with the sacrifice of everybody.
“I knew Juventus wanted to reach the final and expect an equally tough second leg. I was afraid my team could be sated by recent results and in the first half we were a little passive.
“We showed a lot more courage after the break and that’s when the winning goal arrived,” he added.
When questioned whether or not Mohamed Salah has given Fiorentina more tactical options following Juan Cuadrado’s departure, Montella replied:
“Yes to a degree. The whole team is growing, not just Salah, though he is scoring a lot of goals. Salah is in a state of grace and we hope he can continue, but the team has been consistent since November-December.
“Salah settled in very well. We knew he was strong, but in all honesty his immediate impact has gone beyond expectations.
“We have a squad with many alternatives and the January transfer window gave me some other options to choose from. I haven’t forgotten we brought in Alberto Gilardino too and he will have more space.
“The team is confident, aware of what it can do and also remains humble.”
This result gives Fiorentina a surprise advantage ahead of the return leg in Florence on the 7th of April, but Montella urged his side to remain cautious.
“Obviously we hope the result will be better, but we cannot think we’ve already qualified. We will enjoy this for a little while and in a month get focused again to play a similar performance, while in the meanwhile we have other objectives.”
Pradè on Salah
Fiorentina sporting director Daniele Pradè also expressed his delight with Salah after the match, saying the team ‘already relies on him.’
“He’s a strong player who is giving us great satisfaction, immediately settled into the squad and already the team relies on him,” Pradè told Rai Sport.
“He scored an incredible goal running for 70 metres. It was like when you’re a kid, putting a cross forward for yourself and then running on to it.”
“Up until January 27 Cuadrado had a buy-out clause. At that moment we had to find an alternative, Chelsea had this strong player, we did well to choose and sign him.
“The move is our biggest economic move of January, but also our best one on a technical level. The squad has put itself at Salah’s disposal and he is working for the team, so they are getting the best out of each other.”
Italy international Alessandro Diamanti, who’s also on loan at Fiorentina – from Chinese club Guangzhou Evergrande – came on as a substitute replacing Salah, and was also full of praise for the ‘technically gifted’ Egyptian.
“I’ve played with fast players before, but Salah is very technically gifted and can also score goals,” Diamanti told Rai Sport.