Edy Reja said Lazio “answered critics” after a 2-0 win at Chievo, reiterated players turned them down and Hernanes “didn’t tell the whole truth.”
The Biancocelesti began their post-Hernanes career with an impressive victory at the Stadio Bentegodi.
“Perhaps this was the best performance since I returned to Lazio,” said the Coach in his Press conference.
“We did well against Juve, but even better today. We showed confidence on a slippery pitch and reacted well, especially in the second half down the flanks. The result could’ve been more impressive.
“It was important for us to win and answer our critics at this moment.”
Keita Balde put in a star-making turn, setting up Antonio Candreva’s opener, scoring the second and denied a brace only by a great reaction save.
“Keita did very well both attacking and covering, as he worked with real sacrifice for his teammates. If he remains humble, then he can become a great player. We have the talent here, so if the maturity and belief sets in too then we can do well.
“Keita and Lucas Biglia are basically the only new faces here, otherwise it’s the same team I left two years ago.
“On Sunday we have Roma in the derby and we want to be even more aggressive and sparky.”
Biglia won’t take part in the Derby delle Capitale, as he was booked and will be suspended.
“It’s a shame for him, as he’s a great player and that card could’ve been avoided. Destiny wanted it this way.
“We’ll have all week to talk about the derby and it’s good because we get there with confidence. Roma have done great things, but we are improving too, so nothing is to be taken for granted.”
Federico Marchetti was again only on the bench, though director Igli Tare said it is due to a thigh problem and Reja continues to blame his stomach bug.
“He had a fever over the last few weeks, but also thigh problems. We’ve been trying to get him back for a whole week, but he’s not ready. In any case, we can sleep soundly with Etrit Berisha in goal.”
On Friday Reja revealed “10 players” had turned Lazio down during the January transfer window, though Tare insisted it was nowhere near that many.
“It was actually five or six players who didn’t want to come here. It’s not that they rejected Lazio because of the club, but with Jonathan Biabiany it was practically done and he didn’t want to leave Parma.
“We asked Alessandro Matri and he chose Fiorentina, we spoke to Fabio Quagliarella and he said he’d be willing to come at the end of the season.
“We signed Helder Postiga because Miroslav Klose can’t play every game. He is a Portuguese international who won in Europe. We didn’t just bring in some unknown quantity.”
The last few days had been dominated by Hernanes completing his €20m transfer to Inter.
“He had already decided and didn’t tell me the whole truth,” noted Reja.
“I think there had been some movement there a long time before and it just got finished off at the end. Hernanes did a lot for Lazio and is an exceptional person. He made a lifestyle choice, because President Claudio Lotito had made him an impressive contract offer, but he had already chosen another club.”