Fiorentina boss hints at key inclusion, talks Hearts crowd impact and defends €60m ex-Real Madrid star

Fiorentina boss Vincenzo Italiano hinted at fielding an attacking front three for the club's crucial Conference League clash with Hearts at Tynecastle Park.

La Viola come into the game under pressure having won just one of their last ten matches, while they are yet to taste success outside of Florence this campaign.

Italiano was grilled by the travelling Italian press following the weekend's 1-0 loss to Atalanta. In one instance he was pushed into defending striker Luka Jovic.

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The 24-year-old was a summer arrival from Real Madrid, who bought the Serbian international for a reported €60million in 2019, but he has yet to impress in the purple of Fiorentina, scoring once in 11 games.

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Jovic was a second-half substitute against Atalanta in Bergamo and could be handed a start at Tynecastle Park, alongside Argentine international Nicolás González. The £22million recruit is regarded as the key attacking star for La Viola but has had injury issues. He was an unused substitute at the weekend.

"In Bergamo, we had to throw many different things and options at the game,” Italiano said. “I think we came away with a respectable result.

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"Tomorrow will be very different, the team will be very different. Jovic, Cabral and the changes in Atalanta worked very well for us. Nico [Gonzalez] should be fit and we will see how that works tomorrow. We have many options at our disposal.

"Jovic came on for the last 15 minutes against Atalatna and showed lots of positivity and created things.

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Luka Jovic has had his struggles since joining Fiorentina. (Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images)

"He is only 24 and there is a lot of pressure added to him. He needs confidence and support from his team and the club. He will grow and become better.

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"Even a fluke goal will let him grow to where he needs to be. I have great confidence in what he will become.”

There is expected to be a raucous atmosphere at a sold-out Tynecastle Park, something Italiano is prepared for.

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"Having watched the Istanbul and RFS games, Hearts are very strong,” he said. “We have studied how they play and we know they have great support. They will have that here. We will give 100 per cent from the first minute.

"Hearts have very supportive fans, we must match this through fans and on the pitch. It will be a very difficult game, tactically.”

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