We are playing with 12 men - Fiorentina inspired by Astori

Fiorentina midfielder Marco Benassi says he and his team-mates are still inspired by Davide Astori following his sudden death.

Fiorentina and Benevento pay tribute to Davide Astori   -  Getty Images

Davide Astori's death has inspired Fiorentina's four-match winning run in Serie A, according to midfielder Marco Benassi.

Fiorentina captain Astori passed away suddenly last month, but the Florence outfit have used his death as motivation to kick on, with their form taking a significant upturn.

Stefano Pioli's side have won four matches in a row ahead of Saturday's meeting with Roma, conceding only once, with Benassi revealing how they responded to Astori's passing.

"We feel much stronger - I do, for one," he told Il Messaggero. "There is an incredible team spirit. I think it's hard for anyone to face us.

"We are playing with 12 - Davide is always with us. Davide's locker is next to mine and everything is the same: there's his picture, his smile is with us.

"After the misfortune, we looked into each other's eyes and there were two roads ahead of us. We could get down or react. At the first training session, [stand-in captain Milan] Badelj took the floor, telling us that we should go forward to do the best for Davide.

"This has happened. We have done a lot of work and we are still doing it. The pain is great, but someone from up there is helping us."

Fiorentina are ninth and in the running for a Europa League place ahead of Saturday's match.

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