Battle for third place will go to the wire, warns Montella

The Viola trainer is adamant they can compete for a Champions League place while also praising the newfound maturity of Adem Ljajic
Fiorentina coach Vincenzo Montella has warned AC Milan they will not be giving up their fight for Champions League qualification.

The Artemio Franchi outfit are fourth in the Serie A standings, but are only a point behind Massimiliano Allegri's third-placed side, heading into the last five rounds of fixtures.

And despite admitting the Rossoneri have the edge in the hunt for Europe's premier club competition, Montella believes it will go right down to the wire.

"Milan are more prepared for certain challenges than we are," the 38-year-old told reporters. "But we have our chances in this race, if only because we are more detached.

"We have less pressure on our shoulders, and it will be a battle to the last round. I am not worried about having to depend on the results of others.

"We are thinking of the future and must secure our current position. Then we'll see at the end of it all."

The Viola face Sampdoria on Sunday, marking the first time starlet Adem Ljajic faces off with former boss Delio Rossi, whom he shared an infamous punch up with last term.

But Montella aimed to take the pressure off the youngster.

"I gave my suggestion to him. He has to stay calm and focused on playing," he continued.

"He's sacrificed himself for us since the first day and the team has helped him to do so, too."

Ljajic has made 25 league appearances this term, with his seven goals proving crucial in the hunt for European competition.