Coach calls for reverence against Spurs, comments on Pochettino's style

Tottenham Hotspur and Fiorentina will meet for the first time in a competitive fixture on Thursday at White Hart Lane.

Fiorentina head coach Vincenzo Montella told a press conference, as reported by Football Italia, that his side must approach their Europa League encounter against Tottenham with humility.

The two sides have never before faced off in an official match, having met only once in an August 2010 friendly that ended in a 3-2 victory for the North London outfit.

Both clubs can be seen amongst the favourites to make a run to the final, though due to the draw one will be leaving the competition at the round of 32.

Montella’s Viola come into the first leg of the tie as the form side, having gone their last eight games unbeaten between Serie A and Coppa Italia action.

The Tuscan club have found their stride just as Juan Cuadrado departed for Chelsea in the winter transfer window, defying a predicted downturn in fortunes.

Blues loanee Mohamed Salah combined with Khouma Babacar to form a dangerous duo in Fiorentina’s latest victory against Sassuolo, bagging three goals and two assists between them.

But Montella has insisted that the Viola must approach Tottenham with cool heads, putting an emphasis on maintaining mental strength.

He told a press conference: “It’s important for us to go in with enthusiasm, not with euphoria. We’ll have to show reverence, but not fear against such a great team.

“We must be ready from a tactical point of view, but our psychological preparation will be just as fundamental. We’ll be up against a strong team and we’ll be playing in a stadium I’m not familiar with.”

The Italian did spend a brief spell in English football as a player, lining up against Spurs twice while on loan at Fulham in 2007 – both times at Craven Cottage.

Montella scored in a 1-1 Premier League draw in January before being sent off the next month as Fulham fell 4-0 to Spurs in the FA Cup.

At the time, Spurs were under the control of Martin Jol. Some eight years later, Tottenham enter the encounter with Mauricio Pochettino at the helm.

“Tottenham bring together the Spanish and the English style, as Pochettino would say,” Montella continued. “They’re good with possession but they’re also accustomed to high-speed counters.

“We know we have to bring certain characteristics to the game if we want to play on equal footing. We must play well and show a touch of courage, but not at the expense of humility.”

Spurs have never lost to an Italian side on home soil in club history, recording three wins and two draws in five games against Serie A competition in the friendly confines.

Fiorentina have won twice on travels to England – against Arsenal and Liverpool in the Champions League – falling to defeats on two further occasions at the hands of Everton and Manchester United.

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