Italy head coach Cesare Prandelli has backed his former club Fiorentina to be the surprise package of the Serie A season. La Viola, now under the stewardship of Vincenzo Montella, have climbed into third place on the back of five consecutive league victories.
The Tuscans had enjoyed mixed fortunes since Prandelli left to take control of the national side in 2010, with neither of his first successors Sinisa Mihajlovic or Delio Rossi able to qualify for European competition. But Prandelli believes the 38-year-old ex-Roma striker has what it takes to restore La Viola to their former glory.
He told Gazzetta.it: "Montella's team are the revelation of the season. It's always difficult to single out one club in particular because I don't want to upset anyone, but I can certainly say that Fiorentina could go a long way."
Prandelli also hinted at a call-up for Lazio goalkeeper Federico Marchetti, who kept Juventus at bay with his heroics throughout Saturday's goalless draw in Turin. He added: "He's a goalkeeper that we're keeping an eye on and I can assure you that he's never been excluded from the national team.
"But we have four great keepers at the moment in the shape of (Gianluigi) Buffon, (Salvatore) Sirigu, (Morgan) De Sanctis and (Emiliano) Viviano, in no particular order. That's why we can't give him a chance right now, but everybody is in consideration. We are obviously keeping an eye on Marchetti."