Lazio boss Vladimir Petkovic goes into his first ever Derby della Capitale, but “from the first day here I realised what it represents. Zdenek Zeman is a legend.”
The Biancocelesti are currently above their arch rivals in the Serie A standings, but go head-to-head in what is sure to be a thriller on Sunday afternoon. Click here for a match preview.
“This is a special game, like a Cup Final. The tension will keep growing until kick-off, but it’s great to be here and lead the team through a game like this,” he said in his Press conference.
“How do you win the derby? By playing in the Lazio style. I urge the players to stay calm and remember this is football, because at the end of the day we must enjoy ourselves and entertain the fans too, winning convincingly.”
It’ll be the first time for Petkovic against Roma Coach Zeman, but the Serie A newcomer has the utmost respect for his opponent.
“Zeman is a legend in Italy and I certainly followed his progress when I was working in Switzerland. So much has been written about him and his name is known overseas.
“From the first day here I realised what the derby represents in Rome. I had a few derbies in Switzerland, but the entire country has as many inhabitants as the city of Rome. This is a special event, to be shared by everyone.
“It’s a shame we can’t walk out before kick-off to soak up the atmosphere and see what happens in the stands. It is wonderful to be part of such a festival of football.
“In a way I haven’t had time to really think about it, because we had to play in the Europa League on Thursday. We’ve got it all to prove on the pitch.
“We must not be frenetic, but be prepared to face our opponents with our style of football. Will we attack on the counter? Lazio are hardly a catenaccio and counter-attack side...
“Roma will be rested, whereas we have played 17 games in only a few weeks. It means we must be sharper in the mind. There are no favourites in a derby.”
Think you know your Italian football? Share your knowledge, tips and comments to win cash prizes in OLBG's tipster competition - £5,000 monthly.