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Montella’s Catania displaying resilience

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By Will Cook

Tuesday 25 October 2011

Ninth in the table, four draws, 10 points from seven games and a slightly negative goal difference all indicate a middle-of-the-road start to the season for Catania. However, the Serie A table does not really show the full picture of the Rossazzurri’s campaign so far. Moreover, the position has led to a mood of optimism sweeping the city. While the team may not have got into full flight yet under Coach Vincenzo Montella, his squad have shown a grit and desire not to give up that may not have been there in previous years.

The Sicilians have lost once this season, away at Genoa in a 3-0 drubbing, but on the other three occasions when they have fallen behind to the opposition, Catania have come back fighting time and again. In fact, the bouncebackability shown by Montella’s men in recent weeks is remarkable, picking up five points from losing positions, including their latest game at the Stadio Artemio Franchi on Saturday night against Fiorentina, despite the best efforts of Stevan Jovetic.

This never-say-die attitude has not gone unnoticed by the Sicilian press, who have been positively purring. La Sicilia led with the headline “Heart, Character, Catania” after the result in Florence, where the Rossazzurri came back from Jovetic goals twice to salvage a draw. Montella told the same newspaper: “I'm not 100% satisfied. I'm happy because the team has tried to make the game and win, despite playing in a place as difficult as that of Florence. So I congratulate my team. At times the boys have expressed their full potential, while in other parts they have not done so. We can grow and we need to grow up, the boys can do more.”

Yet, as mentioned above, the Fiorentina game is not the only occasion where Catania have come back from a losing position. A fortnight earlier, having led twice, the Rossazzurri responded with an injury time equaliser away at Novara in a thrilling 3-3 draw and sandwiched in between the two ties, Catania beat Inter 2-1 at the Stadio Massimino replying to Esteban Cambiasso’s early goal.

Not only has the team’s resilience been praised, the togetherness of the squad under Montella has been highlighted by everybody from the Catania President Antonino Pulvirenti to well-known television presenter Pippo Baudo. Pulvirenti told La Sicilia “We have shown that the victory against Inter was not random and that our team is formed by a united group trained by a capable technician who married our cause” while Baudo said in an interview on Radio Monte Carlo Montella had “transformed the team to never give up”.

Catania’s togetherness is perhaps best articulated by the source of the Etnei’s goals. The Rossazzurri’s nine strikes this season have been shared among seven players, from defender Nicola Legrottaglie, to midfielders Sergio Almiron, Alejandro Gomez, Francesco Lodi and Gennaro Delvecchio, to attackers Gonzalo Bergessio and Maxi Lopez, the last of which seems to be getting back to form after being unsettled by constant speculation linking him with a move away from Catania in the summer.

Montella has masterminded toppling Inter and negotiated points against Fiorentina and Juventus this season. Next up for l’aeroplanino’s tight knit group is a trip to Lazio tomorrow night. Would anybody bet against the former Roma legend’s side upsetting his once fierce rivals?

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