Lazio may be flying high in second place and the favourites to beat Atalanta on Sunday, but Vladimir Petkovic reminds everyone “the first two months were difficult.”
Bets were flooding in during the summer on Petkovic being the first Serie A Coach to bite the dust this season after a series of friendly defeats.
However, he is now lauded as the revelation of the campaign and his team are just five points off leaders Juventus.
“It is a positive moment for us. I didn’t expect all of this,” he told Swiss media. “We worked hard right from the start to achieve certain things and now the moment has come to reap what we sowed over the last six months.
“The first two months were difficult and I won’t forget them. Nobody believed in us, we were constantly being put on the cross. They asked why a Coach like this was in charge of Lazio...
“Now the same people are lauding the directors who brought me here and appreciate what the team is doing. I understand their scepticism and the pressure, but I do not put limits on myself.”
The performances of the Aquile have been particularly impressive, progressing in the Europa League and Coppa Italia too.
“I wanted to amalgamate the squad together to create a single identity. Now everyone works for the team and the group has a winning mentality.
“We must be convinced that we will beat everyone, home and away, without looking at the statistics. Opponents are starting to get scared of us. I am sure there is respect, both before and after the games.
“We’ll see at the end of the season what we have achieved, but the important thing is to have infinite hunger.”
Lazio welcome struggling Atalanta to the Stadio Olimpico on Sunday afternoon and Petkovic discussed the game in his Press conference.
“Atalanta are a team capable of troubling everyone, so it will certainly not be an easy game. They will try to hit us during our moments of weakness, so we must try to have as few of those as possible.
“Juventus are proving they deserve their position. Now we must do the same. We’ve got to concentrate only on ourselves and not see this season as a race against anyone.”