Red Star arrived in Italy unusually early, on Thursday, 23 May 1991, six full days ahead of the final. The team set up base in the town of Monopoli, 40 kilometres (25 mi) south-east of Bari. There they stayed in Il Melograno Hotel and trained at the facilities of A.C. Monopoli. Due to a lot of interest from richer European clubs already being raised for the future services of young Red Star players, the club management tried to ensure its footballers were fully focused on the task at hand. The players were placed in semi-quarantine immediately upon arrival in Italy, which meant being separated from wives and girlfriends without the ability to receive incoming phone calls in hotel rooms, though able to make outgoing calls.
Over twenty years later in 2011, talking to a French football magazine about the famous win in Bari, Siniša Mihajlović said:
That final is still very vivid in my memory. I think it was the most boring final match in European Cup history. A few hours before the match, seven of us were shown tapes with Olympique matches. I remember [manager] Ljupko Petrović telling us: 'If we attack them we'll leave ourselves open for counterattacks', to which I asked 'so, what do we do then'. His answer was: 'When you get the ball, give it back to them'. So we spent 120 minutes on the pitch without practically touching the ball. The match went to penalties, [Marseille player] Manuel Amoros failed to convert his whereas we converted all five. Had we approached the match with an attacking mentality, we probably would've lost, not because Olympique were necessarily better than us, but because their players were used to playing big matches like this one. We had a squad full of 21, 22, and 23-year-old kids.