Timid Tuscans risk losing Champions League lucre

It didnâÂÂt take Ricky Kaka long to get over not moving to Manchester City and even David Beckham is no longer California dreamin.

AC Milan are now very much in the hunt for the title, along with Inter and Juventus, but itâÂÂs fourth place that looks wide open and thatâÂÂs in part due to FiorentinaâÂÂs inferior complex.

For a second week in a row the shrinking violets diffidently gave away an early goal before belatedly summing up some self-confidence to make a game of it â last weekend it was Milan, this time Juventus.

Marchisio consigns Fiorentina to defeat in Turin

How can you be intimidated by a team whose star player is wearing tights?  Well, the timid Tuscans were as they spent most of the first half bowing demurely as Alessandro Del Piero pirouetted around the pitch like a latter-day Rudolf Nureyev.

Little Alessandro later demonstrated his prima donna qualities of a different kind on seeing his number held up, when he threw his comfort blanket on the ground as he stormed off to the bench.

Cesare PrandelliâÂÂs side need that sort of petulance, as a lack of belief in their own abilities could well see them miss out on a Champions League place.

It would be a shame if they canâÂÂt get their heads around what it takes to be winners, not only because of the exciting young players coming through, such as Riccardo Montolivo, Zdarko Kuzmanovic and - Brian May lookalike - Stevan Jovetic, but for the forward thinking of owners the Della Valle brothers.

Andrea, the club president and Diego, who pulls off the sartorial feat of wearing a sweater as a scarf over a scarf, have grand plans for a new stadium, but that needs oodles of financing which the local council are not willing to foot.

Much of the funding will have to come from the private sector and it will be a much more compelling investment if regular Champions League football is on cards.

But the way things are going there is little likelihood of that: Fiorentina have had a appalling start to 2009 results-wise, losing at home to Lecce of all teams before these two recent losses.

Mutu: Out of action with dislocated elbow

Adrian MutuâÂÂs absence has not helped the cause, but like the cityâÂÂs favourite dish â the Florentine steak â the team need to start showing a bit of backbone otherwise they could be dining at the McDonalds of European competition: the UEFA Europa League.

Much like their ancient ancestors, AS Roma are on the march again and, after sweeping Napoli away, Luciano SpallettiâÂÂs side must now be favourites to occupy fourth place before very long.

Serie A is back for the third and final midweek round of the season on Wednesday, and with Roma at home to Palermo, Genoa at Milan, Fiorentina and Napoli facing each other and Lazio at Sampdoria, that could happen much sooner than expected.


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