Vladimir Petkovic warns he has no intention of “sending negative signals” by rotating the winning Lazio side against Tottenham tomorrow.
The Biancocelesti begin their Europa League group campaign at White Hart Lane on Thursday evening. Click here for Andre Villas Boas' comments.
“In the last two or three years the mentality has changed in Italy with regards to the Europa League, so it is considered more important,” said the Coach in his Press conference.
“For me it is important to play on an international level, because it can help the team to grow by facing a different reality. The differences in football can only be positive and seen as a learning experience.
“Squad rotation? I don’t think it’s necessary in the first few games. For the moment we will continue with a squad that is doing well. I wouldn’t like to ruin anything by sending negative signals.”
Petkovic was asked about his views on opponents Tottenham, who finished fourth in the Premier League last season but didn’t get the Champions League spot due to Chelsea’s victory.
“Tottenham do not just have strength down the flanks, but also through the middle where they are very physical. They’re dangerous on set plays. Of course, playing wide is their main strength, but my players know that and will behave accordingly.
“We will respect the opponents, but try to take the initiative so we’ll neutralise Tottenham’s style of football by imposing our own.
“I think not how we can stop Gareth Bale, but how we can make life difficult for him. The players give me several options, so Lionel Scaloni or Luis Pedro Cavanda could start.
“How far will we go? I don’t look too far ahead and do not like making predictions. Spurs will try to win this competition, whereas we will simply focus on winning tomorrow against them.”
It was hoped that Paul Gascoigne would be in the stands at White Hart Lane to watch his two greatest clubs, but he is reportedly back in rehab.
“I knew Gazza was an idol for the fans and it’s a shame to see the difficulties he is having at the moment,” added Petkovic.
“I hope like all sportsmen he can manage to recover with willpower and we invite him to the second leg in Rome.”
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