Tonight’s high-profile tie at the Lane kicks-off a spell of six matches in 17 days including a trip out to Italy for the return leg and the Capital One Cup Final against Chelsea at Wembley.
It’s a schedule that the lads have become accustomed to this season - tonight’s first leg represents our 42nd match in all competitions.
Excitement levels in the Europa League certainly ramp up a notch as we enter the knockout phase of the competition - not least with the winners entered into next season’s Champions League.
However, Mauricio is concentrating on the job in hand - and that’s overcoming an in-form Fiorentina team currently sitting fourth in Serie A and unbeaten in eight matches domestically.
“Every competition is important,” said Mauricio, as we step back into Europe for the first time since December 11. “It’s true, if you win the trophy it’s access to play in the Champions League and for that, it’s more important but I think it’s key to focus on this game. All our energy is going into trying to win.
“Fiorentina are a very good team, they put on good performances and the culture when you play against an Italian team like Fiorentina is that it’s always difficult.
“We need to enjoy it, try to be better than them and try to win the game.”
The players enjoyed a rare weekend off as we’ve had nine days without a match between defeat last time out at Liverpool on February 10 and tonight’s tie.
Mauricio added: “It was good for the players to have a break, important for their body and their minds because we now have a lot of games, a hard period.
“To play here in England is tough and it’s important to sometimes have a break to recover energy.”