The Fiorentina coach again paid tribute to his January signing after the attacker’s masterclass in the 2-1 Coppa Italia win over Juventus

Fiorentina boss Vincenzo Montella says Mohamed Salah’s impact has been even better than expected and feels his side have more options following the exit of Juan Cuadrado to Chelsea.

The Colombian sealed a €31 million move to Stamford Bridge in January, with Salah going to the Artemio Franchi on loan as part of the same deal.

The Viola boss is delighted with how his troops have responded to the loss of their star man and again praised his players after Salah’s brilliant double gave them a 2-1 Coppa Italia semi-final first-leg win against Juventus in Turin.

When asked whether he has more tactical options now that Cuadrado left, Montella told Rai : “Yes, to a degree. The whole team is growing, not just Salah, though he is scoring a lot of goals.

“Salah is in a state of grace and we hope he can continue. He has settled in very well. We knew that he was strong, but honestly his immediate impact has gone beyond expectations.

“The team has been consistent since November to December. We have a squad with many alternatives and the January transfer window gave me some other options to choose from.

“The team is confident and aware of what it can do, but also is staying humble. We have reached a certain level of maturity and after some time together, the players understand me and I understand them.

“It was a great performance, starting from the strikers, who also worked well in defence. They all knew we could only achieve the result with sacrifice.

“I knew Juventus wanted to reach the final and expect an equally tough second leg. In the first half we were a bit passive. We showed a lot more courage after the break and that is when the winner arrived.”

Montella’s men, who have not suffered a defeat for 13 matches in all competitions, face an away league trip to play Lazio on Monday before they meet Serie A rivals Roma in the last-16 of the Europa League.

goal.com