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Montella: Tough match against Lazio

Vincenzo Montella

We caught up with Vincenzo Montella after training ahead of Monday night’s trip to Lazio.

"It’s going to be a tough match today, possibly the most difficult test for us during this period of games. Lazio are a very good side. They’re a physical side – you can see that from the number of fouls they give away. They have top-quality players and are dangerous on the break.

"We’re coming off the back of an intense run of games. Unlike Lazio, we’ve had the Europa League to deal with, which has amounted to around ten extra games already. Having said that, we’ve definitely got the necessary mental strength to overcome that," began Montella.

There was disappointment for the Viola when the two sides met in October, but Montella was keen to look forward to the match to come: "Earlier in the season at the Franchi, Lazio were totally superior to us in the first half. After the break we were much the better side, and had more than enough chances to draw the match, although we ended up getting caught on the break and conceding again. As I said, Lazio are a top team, but we need to forget about the last game and focus on what we need to do on Monday night."

We couldn’t not ask Montella about the incredible impact Mohamed Salah has had since his arrival from Chelsea: "Salah has done some amazing things in a very short space of time. He’s deserved the acclaim he’s got in the press and I’m pleased for him. The team is delighted with him and there’s no sense of jealousy whatsoever within the dressing room. We’ll all do everything we can to help him to continue his form."

One January signing who’s not seen quite so much playing time is Alberto Gilardini, but Montella was quick to praise the Italian forward: "Gilardino is a great player and a very positive person. He’s not completely match-fit yet, but I still think he’s one of the best in-the-box strikers in the league. I’ve got total confidence in him."

There was also time for a word on Parma, where things finally look to be on the up: "It’s very good news. I think the Parma players and manager deserve the utmost respect for the way they’ve carried themselves. I really admire the way Donadoni has behaved throughout this whole saga. I think they have a right to carry on."