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Montella keen to avoid Napoli in Europa League semis

Fiorentina coach Vincenzo Montella said he wants to avoid Serie A rivals Napoli in the UEFA Europa League semi-finals.

After the two Italian clubs progressed to the final four along with champions Sevilla and Dnipro on Thursday, Montella said he would prefer to travel to Spain or Ukraine in the semi-finals than take on Rafa Benitez’s side.

The Stadio Artemio Franchi outfit were 2-0 winners at home to Dynamo Kiev in the second leg of their quarter-final tie, to seal a 3-1 aggregate win.

“About the next round, I would not pick Napoli. It is an Italian team and they are strong. The other two teams are OK. I will accept them,” Montella said.

The 40-year-old hailed his two goal-scorers on Thursday – Mario Gomez and Juan Vargas, and defended Egyptian Mohamed Salah on accusations he was selfish.

“I am happy for Gomez and I am happy for Vargas. In particular, I am happy for the way that the team played,” Montella said.

“Regarding Salah, he is not selfish. We noticed that many times. He is an unpredictable player for the opponents and for the teammates. This is his skill.”

Montella conceded his side were not as physical as Dynamo, but got the job done.

“The team was fired up,” he said of his charges.

“We were focused on the match and well prepared. I know that it is difficult for a player to prepare for two matches in a row. 

“It is complicated; otherwise they will be all top players. Many factors helped us. 

“It was important to be prepared for this match. Dynamo Kiev were stronger than us physically. That’s why turnovers were important.”

Fri 24 Apr, 2015
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