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Keeping Real's slim title hopes alive

Real Madrid
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Montella full of praise for Petkovic

Fiorentina manager Vincenzo Montella believes Lazio boss Vladimir Petkovic has "proved himself to be a great coach", as the pair prepare to go head-to-head on Sunday.

Petkovic replaced Edy Reja at the Biancazzurri this summer and has impressed hugely, leading Lazio to third place in Serie A.

The Bosnian coach has also made the club a much more well-rounded side than in recent seasons - something Montella is well aware of.

"He has proved himself to be a great coach, he's a really balanced individual, he has a good way of working and he has adapted well to Serie A," Montella said. "He has some great footballing ideas and charisma too.

"Lazio are a complete side, but I don't know whether we are on the same level as them right now."

Petkovic himself is not getting too carried away however, believing his players have much to learn following Thursday's 1-1 draw away to Panathinaikos.

"There is bitterness, as we should've finished the game earlier, you can tell from these incidents that we are not mature enough," he told Sky Italia. "We had the chances to secure the result and were too naive. This is a warning - we have got to play for 90 minutes.

"It's true we were trying to win without pushing ourselves 100%. I rested some players who have been working very hard, but the others must take their chances better otherwise they aren't going to fight their way into the starting eleven."

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