Vladimir Petkovic tried to reassure Lazio fans “everything will be ok” as they face bête noir Chievo with a midfield crisis.
The Biancocelesti have only ever beaten the Flying Donkeys once at the Stadio Olimpico back in 2003, followed by three defeats and five draws. It kicks off on Sunday at 14.00 UK time, click here for a match preview.
“I don’t think the system will change, as that is irrelevant,” said the Coach with Hernanes suspended and Lucas Biglia fighting injury.
“The important thing is that the players work together, which is what they didn’t always do in previous games. We must raise the tempo and try to win so we can start a positive streak.”
Alvaro Gonzalez is also a doubt after returning “tired” from international duty, while Stefan Radu is injured and Stefano Mauri still banned.
“Perhaps it is better that the effect of the Coppa Italia victory has dissipated, because now we can get our feet on the ground and prove ourselves all over again. There was too much enthusiasm, especially in the first game. We played three Jokers, now the dealer gives us another hand. We want to play our cards.
“I don’t want to talk about the transfer market, as too much has already been said and I am fed up. I am concentrated on the next objective, which is to rediscover a Lazio side that plays with belief and the desire to win.
“I have not changed and Lazio are not limping. It’s true we lost two out of three competitive games this season, but those two were against champions of Italy Juventus. We are carrying the cross and we want to sing too.
“I tell the fans they should stay calm and have faith. We are all up for debate, but I believe everything will be ok.”
There could be a protest by ultras before the match, coming into the stadium late to show their dissatisfaction with transfer strategy.
“We are playing against a Chievo side with a certain tradition. Last season we conceded the decisive goal on a clearance, so we must make life difficult for them and also have preventative measures in defence. This team prefers to go on the counter-attack, so we must be mentally at 100 per cent. I believe in my men,” continued Petkovic.
“All our goals conceded so far have come from individual errors. We must find the right concentration, because against teams like Juventus you pay for every mistake.
“Not everything we’ve done is negative, as we just paid for naivety. We must rediscover the Lazio that knows how to suffer, but also impose its style of play. I want to see a side that enjoys itself.”
The Coach was asked whether the absence of Hernanes and possibly Biglia will see Antonio Candreva move to a more central attacking role.
“Whether Candreva starts wide and cuts in or the other way round makes little difference. I like to have five or six players who change places in attack, who try to collaborate together. Where they begin or finish a move is less important to me.”
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