Montella determined to fight for top three spot

Fiorentina coach Vincenzo Montella has warned Serie A rivals AC Milan to expect a battle to the bitter end for a place in the Champions League next season.

Viola edged a thriller

Montella leads the Viola to Sampdoria, having closed to within a point of Milan in the third and final qualification berth for Europe's top competition next season.

With five games of the season to go, the former Roma coach has made it clear his side will do all they can to overtake Milan and clinch third place, starting with three points at his former side Sampdoria.

"We are going to bust a gut to keep on the heels of the team in front of us and consolidate our cushion over those behind," he said.

"My team have belief. We had belief even when we were six points behind Milan, which is even more reason to believe in it now."

Montella recognises Milan, given their history, are favourites to finish third in the table, but believes the increased expectations on the Rossoneri could help his side come from behind.

"Our strength is that we can play this games with less tension and more relaxation," he said.

"We are playing without pressure and we must not lose this characteristic. It has worked well up to now."

Montella will not be putting any pressure on Giuseppe Rossi either after he was given the all-clear to return to full training yesterday. He could yet figure before the season is out.

"Rossi is an extraordinary player and he is obsessed with getting back into the spotlight," he said.

"It's only right to dream of seeing him playing, but we have to think of the reality too and remember that this lad has not played for two years.

"We need to be patient."

All eyes will be on Samp coach Delio Rossi, who last May was involved in a violent altercation with Adem Ljajic and lost his job as Fiorentina coach as a result.

"I have already made a suggestion to Adem, but I'm not going to come here and tell it to you," said Montella.

"Let's just see what they do."

Whether the pair shake hands or not, the Samp boss says the issue is already over and done with.

"Everybody saw what happened, it could hardly have gone unnoticed with all the television cameras," he told La Repubblica newspaper.

"For me, the issue was over come full-time. The club then made up their own minds and decided to sack me.

"I'm sorry it ended that way. I have nothing against him and I have no regrets either."

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