Edy Reja has again expressed his frustration at the number of injuries Lazio are suffering in a key stage of the season.
The tactician, whose Aquile are looking to secure third spot this season, have recently lost Cristian Brocchi to a season-ending injury, potentially Senad Lulic and Miroslav Klose too and today Hernanes, after tests revealed the Brazilian has suffered a thigh strain.
Alongside losing Alvaro Gonzalez for personal reasons and having doubts on Matuzalem’s condition for the midweek trip to Novara, Reja admits that it is a selection situation that is threatening to derail their season ambition.
“At the moment things are not very good, because instead of retrieving players so as to rotate the squad, we are losing them,” reflected Reja in his Press conference on Tuesday, before the Hernanes news was announced.
“But, we are still third in the standings and will do our utmost to finish there at the end of the season.
“In a scale of one to 10, the number of accidents we have suffered must be at 10. With an entire squad available we would already have qualified for the Champions League by now.
“Obviously it is not verifiable data, but we all know this would have been the case. That’s not to say that we have weaknesses in the squad, because this is a team where it doesn’t matter who plays and who doesn’t.”
The Coach also suggested that the fixture list is playing against his team’s preparations to an unfair degree.
“Napoli and Udinese played on Saturday and Sunday, but we are the ones playing at 11.30 [UK time] on Wednesday. We have not been favoured at all well in this respect - in these two or three days there is a slight disadvantage compared to our direct competitors.
“Television prevails over trying to avoid such situations, though. If I had a full squad to use then I’d think nothing of it, but I’m having to take into account these considerations at the moment.”
Reja took time to defend his players’ performance at the weekend, suggesting that nerves and concentration are more important than how the team plays at this stage of the season.
“I hope the players now have the knowledge to see results out to the end of games. Certainly we have not produced good games, but at this time it is more important to keep our nerves.
“On Sunday in the last minute we had six or seven chances to get the ball back. We didn’t even manage this through a foul, this is a defect that we will have to eliminate. Tomorrow we go to Novara with the right determination, trying to repeat the performance on Sunday.
“I think that even our competitors are struggling like us in this respect. Among other things, we are all teams to have had commitments in Europe this season. I think it is psychological. But, in the end the best team will take third place.”