La Viola saw their 100 per cent record in this season’s Europa League tarnished in Portugal, with summer signing Ilicic putting in a particularly laboured performance as the Serie A side strived hard to find their rhythm.
However,Montella insists the midfielder has not been lucky with injuries since his move from Palermo in July and is quite sure he will soon see the 25-year-old back to his best.
“It was difficult to find space tonight as our opponents put 10 men behind the ball,” he told Sport Mediaset.
“It’s a shame we didn’t win, but the boys worked hard to try and score until the 95th minute.
“He [Ilicic] needs to play, as this cannot be the Ilicic we know. He has been unlucky so far with the Viola, as he arrived with a few fitness problems and then picked up another injury straight away.
“This slowed down his process of settling into the team, but we will soon see him back in his best shape.”
Fiorentina had already secured their place in the knockout phase of the Europa League prior to Thursday’s clash, and will finish top of their group if they avoid defeat against Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk on matchday six.