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The Viola manager feels his side can leapfrog Napoli following their 1-0 win over the Partenopei on Sunday, however he knows it will be tough without the injured Mario Gomez

Fiorentina coach Vincenzo Montella is confident his side can displace Napoli and finish in the third Champions League spot.

The Viola beat Rafa Benitez's side 1-0 on Sunday thanks to Joaquin’s 88th minute winning goal and the result has left them just seven points behind their rivals in Serie A with nine games left to play.

Montella believes the race for third spot will go down to the wire but is delighted with the way his players have performed so far this season.

“I believe we can get third place,” Montella told reporters ahead of Wednesday’s match against AC Milan.
“Everything depends on how the next two games go. With two victories we will really be able to think about it moving forward.

“I now have a year’s more experience, in more competitions and more matches. In life experience counts, and new matches bring new experiences every time.

“It’s been an important year and it will be right until the end. The experiences we have had will mature us as a team.

“All things considered I think it has been a great season for Fiorentina because we have done well in three competitions.

“We had an excellent Europa League but were unlucky to draw Juventus, a team who came out of the Champions League.

“We are in the Coppa Italia final and in the fight for third place despite the difficulties we’ve had with injuries. It’s not even been easy to consolidate fourth place, but we are there.”

However, the Florence outfit will be without star striker Mario Gomez for the next month after the Germany international suffered a knee injury against Napoli on Sunday.

“I feel sorry for the team,” Montella said. “Gomez and Giuseppe Rossi are two players who can make the difference when they are at peak physical condition.

“They will be like new signings next season. It’s inevitable we will miss them a lot. I’m not sure if we will have them playing together before the end of the season.

“We will see, with Gomez at least it is nothing serious. He will give us an added boost when he comes back.
“There is [Alessandro] Matri who can come in, and also [Ryder] Matos who is fit and has maybe played less than he has deserved.”

The 39-year-old was then asked about Milan's struggles this season and the former Roma striker believes while their rich history cannot be wiped overnight, he hasn't noticed an improvement in performance under new coach Clarence Seedorf.

“They [Milan] are a long way from us in the table,” he added. “But they have players who can decide a game at any moment. They have great players who can show their character in important games.

“But I don’t really want to comment on their tough period. They are a team that maybe needs reconstruction, but for the last 20 years they have been at the highest level globally.

“I don’t think Milan have changed that much under Seedorf since [Massimiliano] Allegri. The players are the same. They are moving forward with a plan, maybe even a long term one.”

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