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Fiorentina coach Prandelli hoping for a magic night

Fiorentina coach Cesare Prandelli said he was hoping for a bit of magic on Thursday when his Serie A side host Rangers in the UEFA Cup semi-final, second leg.

The tie is finely balanced at 0-0 after the first leg at Ibrox last week and Prandelli believes his team's fans can make the difference at the Artemio Franchi stadium here.

“We're preparing ourselves for a magical evening, we're proud of what we've already achieved,” said Prandelli at Wednesday's pre-match press conference at the stadium.

“We have to be aware that it will be like this and we must have the joy and pride to be the protagonists in a European semi-final.

“Our fans will win the match for us tomorrow, with their support we will be carried all the way to the final.

“Everyone talks about the English and Scottish fans but our fans can match them.”

Prandelli revealed his team were getting so excited about the return leg that he has had to calm them down in training.

“I feel calm, we've prepared everything to do well. In training I've had to reduce the tempo because the players were going too fast.”

There was a fear that Fiorentina would still be hung-over from the disappointment of conceding a goal deep into injury time against Sampdoria at the weekend.

That earned their visitors a 2-2 and saw AC Milan cut La Viola's lead in the race for fourth spot – and Champions League football next season – to just two points.

But Prandelli denied that would have a detrimental effect on his team.

“On the contrary, against Samp we showed we could come back from a deficit (they were 1-0 down),” said the former AS Roma coach.

One worry is that the second leg will be as dull as the first, when Rangers played particularly negatively to avoid conceding an away goal.

“I'm convinced they won't play the same way as they did in the first leg,” added Prandelli.

“They will play higher up the pitch because this time they have to score a goal.

“We have to take risks but we'll try to do so with the right balance.”

For one Fiorentina player there is a special incentive with the final due to be played at Manchester's City of Manchester Stadium.

Adrian Mutu previously played in England for Chelsea but his spell ended in acrimonious circumstances as he was fired after testing positive for cocaine.

The Romanian striker denied there would be any extra satisfaction in going back to prove some people wrong.

“Tomorrow's game is one in which we can achieve our dream, which is to play in the final,” he said.

“Going to Manchester with the violet shirt would be great.

“What happened (at Chelsea) was a long time ago. It makes no difference to me, I just want to get to the final.

“I have nothing to prove to British football, only to my coach here.”

Wed 30 April, 2008
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