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Fiorentina Coach Cesare Prandelli is ready to take on a resurgent Roma in the chase for Champions League football.

The Tuscan side were a massive 10 points and five places clear of Roma just before the Christmas break.

However, today Prandelli finds himself locked in an elbow-to-elbow duel with his former club, who are now just two points behind in fifth spot.

Although the ex-Juventus midfielder has no intention of giving up the fight with the reborn capital boys, he is highly aware of Roma’s progression.

“Boss Luciano Spalletti has done very well, he deserves all my compliments and has really turned his side around since last year, ” said the Tuscan tactician.

“Yet Fiorentina will do everything to stay in fourth spot, a position which has been achieved with merit, hard work and with everybody pulling in the same direction.”

Fiorentina visit Roma’s neighbours Lazio in the Stadio Olimpico on Sunday and will be hoping to halt a run that has not seen them win away since early November – a 2-0 triumph against little Ascoli.

“We are looking to the next challenge with Lazio and the following games for the necessary points to reach the Champions League,” added Prandelli. “We know it won’t be easy but we have to take points from them.”

The only cloud on Fiorentina’s horizon of late was the 2-0 defeat on Sunday by Livorno and Prandelli explained that the result was a consequence of fate.

“Sunday ably showed us once again that football lives and dies by chance,” he underlined.

“If we had converted the penalty, through Luca Toni, when the score was still 0-0 then the match may have a had a different ending.

“But we cannot blame anyone because that’s the way things go sometimes.”

Fiorentina are mathematically in a race to finish second, but the Viola boss seems content enough with fourth.

“Juventus have almost got another title wrapped up and they deserve it because they play with consistency and work hard,” he noted. “However, it is still a fight between Inter and Milan for second.”
 

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I don't think there's much we can do to hold off Roma. Its not like our form has taken a turn for the bad. We've been pretty consistent all season with playing very well and getting lots of good results at home while not playing as well and getting not as good results away. Roma is getting close to us not because we're falling off, but because they've just managed to figure it all out. I've always thought that despite their poor position in the table (before) that they were a team that had loads of talent that should have been doing better (poor showings probably a result of various off the field distractions). In fact, my feeling is that it's likely they won't just overtake us, but also Milan and Inter to take the second spot in the table when the season's over (and auto CL). Our best chance to stay in the top 4 for a CL spot is to overtake either Inter or Milan ourselves - possible if we remain healthy and if they both stay in this season's CL (as pressure stays on them from both CL and Serie A they're more likely to have slip ups and drop points).

Its going to be difficult for us to hold Roma off this week with our defence issues (injuries and suspensions - against Lazio it's going to be tough despite the fact that we're home).
 
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