NEWS
Saturday October 5 2013
Petkovic: 'Premature to judge Lazio'

Vladimir Petkovic said it’s “premature to give this Lazio an identity” ahead of their Fiorentina match tomorrow night.

The two sides come face-to-face in a battle for European places at 19.45 UK time (18.45 GMT), click here for a match preview.

They both played in the Europa League on Thursday, Lazio fighting back for a 3-3 draw away to Trabzonspor and Fiorentina winning 2-1 at Dnipro.

“It is still premature to give this Lazio an identity,” said the Coach in his Press conference.

“Last season we started strong and then lost our way, while this time we paid a heavy price for the Italian Super Cup defeat to Juventus. That created negativity, more on the outside of the club than inside, and the team suffered for that.”

There is an injury crisis within the side, as Miroslav Klose, Abdoulay Konko, Stefan Radu, Giuseppe Biava and Bruno Pereirinha all appear to be out of action with Stefano Mauri suspended.

This suggests Felipe Anderson and Brayan Perea could again start after impressive full debuts against Trabzonspor.

“The growth of young players is important, but above all that the team grows. Everyone has to play for Lazio and we need healthy competition for places.

“Fiorentina were tipped to be one of the favourites at the start of the season, so they want to go far. We’ll see who is fresher after long Europa League trips, though psychological sharpness will be even more important. We’re back on the right track and now need confirmation against Fiorentina.

“We are one point behind the Viola, but there is a whole season ahead of us. They will have more pressure on them than Lazio. Everyone has to give 20 per cent more than against Trabzonspor to get the better of Fiorentina.”

Petkovic was also asked about UEFA’s order to play the next Lazio Europa League home game behind closed doors due to racist chanting.

“It’s a shame, as our team does not deserve this treatment and these punishments. I hope for an appeal so that we can play a football match.”

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