Date: 7th August 2009 at 6:22pm
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Martin O’Neill believes that the Fiorentina friendly is the perfect way for Villa to ease into the Premier League season.

Speaking on the official site ahead of tomorrows clash, O’Neill spoke of his delight at getting more top quality European opposition to Villa Park and said we will be ready for the test that the two time Seria A champions will bring.

‘Fiorentina are a fantastic football club. They are one of the top Italian sides and have a number of star names.

‘They were obviously drawn in the Champions League play-off with Sporting Lisbon this afternoon so from their perspective they will be looking for a good test from us.

‘To follow up our Peace Cup victory with a home game against real quality European opposition is fantastic and ideal preparation for the start of the season.’

It seems the excitement and enjoyment goes both ways, with Fiorentina coach Cesar Prandelli also commenting:

‘We are extremely honoured to be playing against such a prestigious English club.

‘It is a privilege for us to come to England and play a friendly match at Villa Park in preparation for the play-offs of the Champions League.’

This one may not be much of a ‘friendly’ in the usual senses.


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