La Viola's Mutu ready to thrive under pressure
FLORENCE, April 2 (UEFA Cup) - Adrian Mutu believes the pressure of the occasion will spur him on in Fiorentina's UEFA Cup quarter-final against PSV Eindhoven.
The Romania international, fit again after a knee injury sidelined him for a month, has scored three goals in the UEFA Cup this season and understands much will again rest on his shoulders when the Dutch champions visit Florence for Thursday's first leg.
La Viola squeezed past Everton on penalties in the last round, but have barely held on to fourth place in Serie A while Mutu has been injured, the latest result a 3-1 defeat at Udinese on Sunday.
'When one feels pressure, you know of the responsibilities,' Mutu told club website www.acffiorentina.it.
'Therefore to know that everyone expects a great performance from me gives a little worry, but also great motivation.'
Mutu says La Viola can achieve success both in Europe and domestically, where they are chasing qualification to the Champions League.
'Everyone wants to take Fiorentina forward in Europe, and also secure fourth place in the championship,' he said.
'We are ambitious, and want to do well.'
Cesare Prandelli's side will look to maintain their unbeaten run at the Artemio Franchi stadium, having won four of their five encounters in Europe there this season.
'Before, it was a dream to advance in the cup,' Prandelli said.
'Now we are here, we must savour these beautiful moments with our fans.'
Like Fiorentina, PSV made it to the quarter-finals by beating a Premier League club on penalties - in their case Tottenham Hotspur.
Prandelli expects another tough challenge over the two legs, and says he 'fears' some of the Dutch club's players.
'We must be very careful, they play a 'total football' and so we and will have to be aggressive,' he said.
'They have three or four players who will seek always to go one-on-one, and I fear them in possession.
'We will have to be good to force them into situations that perhaps they know less well. (But) in the first instance, we have to attack.'
Fiorentina defeated Everton 2-0 at home, thanks to goals from Zdravko Kuzmanovic and Riccardo Montolivo, but conceded twice at Goodison Park as the game went to a penalty shoot-out.
'We are in optimum physical condition, (and) it is clear that if we play with exuberance and desire we can put (PSV) in difficulty,' said Prandelli.
The winner over two legs will face either Glasgow Rangers or Sporting Lisbon in the semi-finals.
'Now we must fight to remain in Europe,' Prandelli said.
'Tomorrow is important, but for us all games are the most important, until the next one comes along.'
Prandelli is sweating on the fitness of defenders Tomas Ujfalusi and Alessandro Gamberini, who has been out for three weeks with a muscular injury.
Both will undergo late tests on Thursday.