Thursday, 10 April 2008

Prandelli - "Magnificent!"

Fiorentina coach Cesare Prandelli hailed his side as "magnificent" as they sealed a 2-0 win over Dutch champions PSV Eindhoven.

A brace from Adrian Mutu either side of half time secured the 3-1 aggregate triumph in the Philips Stadion and a semi-final tie with Glasgow Rangers.

"To perform as we did, in a match of this importance, was magnificent," Prandelli said after the match.

"Our forwards made the difference and we showed a positive attitude throughout, although against a big club like PSV you cannot always take risks.

"Last week we received criticism after the 1-1 home draw, but now we have turned it around with the right attitude."

Prandelli was confident his side would do him and the fans proud ahead of the match. "I said yesterday at the press conference that I was looking forward to the match. I was just very calm and positive about the game after watching the boys in training. I felt it would go for us. We came here to win and we succeeded," he said.

"To achieve this victory, all our players had to show their quality. Normally I am very good at controlling my emotions but with 2,000 fans travelling from Florence to Eindhoven to support us, I got a bit emotional."

Fiorentina will meet Rangers in the last four but for the time being Prandelli wants to savour the win. "I will think about that later," he said. "I just want to enjoy this great qualification with my players."

The Viola, who play leaders Inter in Serie A on Sunday, are fourth and hold the final UEFA Champions League position ahead of AC Milan and Sampdoria. Both chasing clubs are four points behind the Viola with just six games remaining.

"Now we just go back to the hotel and will fly back to Florence tomorrow. On Sunday we have to play in Serie A and deliver the goods again. This victory is very important but we just have to take one game at a time," he concluded.

Romanian international Mutu said he was "proud" to be playing for the only remaining Serie A team that are flying the flag in Europe.

"I am happy with the performance of the team tonight. It was important for us to reach the semi-finals," he said. "I am really pleased with the result and especially proud to be part of the only Italian team still competing in Europe."

President Andrea Della Valle echoed those words adding that it was "one of the most beautiful evenings of my life".

"We are dreaming," said Della Valle. "This has been one of the most beautiful evenings in my life.

"Now we have to play in this semi-final. This competition was crucial for us to gain experience but who would have thought we would arrive in the semi-final of the UEFA Cup?

"I hope we can give our city some joy because we owe everything to Florence, with 2000 fans travelling to Eindhoven to support the team and they were the ones we could hear singing in the stadium."

Della Valle praised Prandelli as the mastermind behind the Viola's impressive campaign in both Serie A and European competition. "We are creating a project and we have very motivated players who want to remain here," admitted Della Valle.

"We have the fortune of having a coach that believes in us and all together we will create a successful project."

Source: UEFA / Fiorentina

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