The Fiorentina coach was left dumbfounded by his side's defeat to Roma on Saturday but insists the battle with AC Milan for third place is not over yet
An injury-time header from Pablo Osvaldo - a player linked with a move to the Viola - condemned the hosts to a defeat which leaves AC Milan firmly in the driving seat to finish in third place, but Montella insists his side still have everything to play for.
"A result like that can happen when you take on a team with quality, talented players like Roma," he told Viola Channel after the match. "But it's disappointing, we're all a bit tired after a long season. Perhaps we're also a little tense because we're in the running for an important goal, something we hadn't hoped for a few months ago.
"I'm sorry for the team because they deserved more for the work they put in and the way they played. For the unity and spirit they showed, and certainly for what we saw on the pitch, I think they deserved a better result.
"And that would have meant a better league position, although I think it's still open. Now we need to look forward and try to finish the season while maintaining this same level.
"Today we're tired but we'll have shaken it off by tomorrow. We've still got everything to play for. Physically and mentally we're fine, and I think this game will give us added incentive to win our last three matches."
Montella was also left shell-shocked at the pattern of play in the defeat, which he felt was a carbon copy of the Coppa Italia clash between the same sides back in January, when an extra-time strike from Mattia Destro settled matters.
When asked if Saturday's result was tougher to take than the Coppa meeting, Montella replied: "I don't know, this one is fresher in the memory. But I think some things are meant to happen.
"We hit the same post, in the same spot, with the same scoreline, in the same minute, at the same end, then immediatley afterwards they have a chance to score, after we'd dominated the second half. Exactly the same as the cup."
The former Roma striker added that he talked to officials after the match having been frustrated to see a number of decisions go against his side, including a penalty shout against Daniele De Rossi.
"I often speak with referees after a game, to understand certain things about their management of the game rather than specific decisions," Montella explained.
"Certain fouls annoyed me when I was a player: if someone interrupts a move intentionally, regardless of whether it's a blatant foul or not, I think it should be a booking.
"If it's an exuberant or competitive player, or a defender, if he gets booked after 10 minutes, it affects his game. And referees know that."