Montella: Fiorentina v Juventus not the Europa League final

The Viola boss rubbishes the assumption that Thursday's meeting at the Stadio Artemio Franchi is likely to see its winner go on to succeed Chelsea as tournament champions
Vicenzo Montella has dismissed the notion that the victors from Fiorentina's Europa League last-16 tie with Juventus are destined to go on to win the tournament.

The two Serie A clubs are locked at one goal apiece afeter the first game, with Mario Gomez having cancelled out Arturo Vidal's opener in Turin.

Though plenty of big names remain in the competition, some pundits have argued that there will be no stopping the side who emerge victorious at the Stadio Artemio Franchi on Thursday night but that is not a view shared by Montella.

"I don't agree that this is effectively the final," the Fiorentina boss told reporters on Wednesday. "We're only at the last 16."

Montella also tried to play down the sense of expectation among the Fiorentina fans, who treasure victories over Juventus above all others.

"There are great motivations for a game of this important at this level, against a great opponent," the ex-Italy international acknowledged, "but it's a game of football. We need to go into it maintaining a sense of calm because Fiorentina are at their best when they play with serenity.

"Juventus know that it will be hard for them here but the Bianconeri have got used to playing games like this for many years.

"We must extract the maximum from our own capabilities and not think about nullifying those of our opponents. I'm expecting my team to put their own characteristics on the field and to play with joy but there must be the necessary fear for a game like this."

Montella has been identified as a potential future Juventus boss but, while he refused to rule out the possibility of moving to Turin, he insisted that he has no desire to leave Florence any time soon.

"I am a professional," he stated, "but I hope to still train Fiorentina for a long time."