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Europa Conference League Final: Fiorentina lacked maturity to win – Italiano

La Viola boss rues third cup final defeat in 12 months as Olympiacos strike late to win in Athens

Vincenzo Italiano

After seeing Fiorentina lose in the Europa Conference League Final for the second straight year, Vincenzo Italiano says his side are too naïve.

Italiano – who has been linked with a move away from Florence after three years with La Viola – rued missed chances as his side eventually fell to a 1-0 defeat to Olympiacos in Athens, four minutes from the end of extra-time.

It was their third final defeat in 12 months after suffering a last-gasp defeat to West Ham in last year’s UECL Final in Prague while also losing 2-1 to Inter in the 2023 Coppa Italia Final.

Italiano told Sky Sports Italia: “It’s disappointing for the second time. It’s disappointing because again we had many situations to score goals, but the lads did everything they could.

“I don’t think we deserved to lose this game, which could’ve gone all the way to penalties.

“It is a huge disappointment for me, because the third final we played the right way, but we still don’t have the maturity, the know-how, that little extra to win in a one-off match.”

Ayoub El Kaabi headed the only goal with penalties looming at the AEK Stadium but Vincenzo insisted the Greek side had not outclassed his side.

“I think the team played the way a final should be played,” he said. “We had chances to take the lead. You need to be clinical in these games, but they scored at the end.

“It’s disappointing because it’s difficult to go all the way in Europe and nobody has dominated us in the last two years. It’s a huge disappointment.

“In games like this, losing leaves a bitter taste in your mouth. But we have laid a good foundation. Fiorentina have a lot of talented youngsters, and we have to pick up where we can improve.

“We had a good run, but, once again, we fell just before the finishing line.”

Picture of Alex Hoad

Alex Hoad

Alex has more than 15 years' experience in sports journalism and has reported on multiple Olympics, World Cups and European Championships in additional to Champions League, Europa League and domestic football.