Juan Cuadrado‘s revelation that Fiorentina aspires to win the Europa League is a welcome sign for Serie A, with an eye towards UEFA country coefficients.
The Italian top flight lost its fourth Champions League place to the Bundesliga starting with the 2012-13 season after declining performances in continental play, leaving the storied championship in an arduous fight to recover what’s been lost.
Europe’s secondary competition, which somewhat controversially affects league rankings alongside its preeminent cousin, has been a particular sticking point for Italian clubs as many have sacrificed full commitment to it in order to focus completely on domestic matters.
Lazio‘s run to the quarter-finals last term represented the farthest a Serie A side had gone in the tournament since Udinese reached the same stage in its predecessor, the UEFA Cup, in the 2008-09 edition.
And with Italy’s premier division locked in a bout to distance itself from chasers in France’s Ligue 1 and Portugal’s Primeira Liga while attempting to break back into the top three country coefficients against the odds, Fiorentina’s ambitions of Europa League glory have come in an hour of need.
The Viola were unlucky to not have gained entry to the Champions League this season. Denied only by Milan’s last-ditch comeback victory away to relegated Siena on the final match day of the previous Serie A term, boss Vincenzo Montella clarified back in September that his club wouldn’t be taking the Europa League lightly.
“Our objective is to do our best,” he told reporters. “Naturally, we didn’t get back into Europe just to take part.”
“We will give our all and see how far Fiorentina can go.”
Having already qualified for the knockout stages with a perfect record of four wins, the Stadio Artemio Franchi outfit looks to be making good on the coach’s promise and Cuadrado has now gone on to say that the side is hungry to lift the trophy at the Juventus’ stadium, their bitter rivals, come the final on May 14.
With a fairly deep squad, albeit one that has been ravaged by injuries, Fiorentina look good value to make a push in search of silverware.
And while to many the Europa League is nothing but an afterthought that has been denounced by some for its lack of incentive given the pithy monetary prize, for Serie A’s standing as a whole it is vital that clubs seek to have success in it.
In Fiorentina, such a motivated team seems to have come forth, and should the Tuscans emerge victorious in the end, will deserve to be hailed by not only the club’s supporters, but those of other outfits around the peninsula as well.