Lazio boss Edy Reja would “like to trip Roma up” in the Derby della Capitale. “I haven’t slept for a week!”
The Coach spoke ahead of the clash, which is on Sunday at 14.00 GMT. Click here for a match preview.
“Roma have done some extraordinary things this season and we are a bit behind, as we expected different results,” said the man who took over from Vladimir Petkovic after Christmas.
“We are growing, having beaten Inter and proved we could hold Juventus to a draw. I’d be happy with a win or a draw in this game, as it would still represent growth both psychologically and tactically.
“Roma are in great shape and we need to find confidence, so a result against them would be very satisfying.”
Reja has been testing a 4-3-3 formation that mirrors the Roma tactics of Rudi Garcia.
“I have to take into account both our characteristics and those of Roma. They are extremely strong in the middle of the park, so we must find the adequate adjustments. I think it only right that a Coach does this.
“The important thing with Gervinho is not to give him or Roma the space to counter-attack. They are masters at this, but we worked on it this week and hope to do well tomorrow.
“I cannot deprive Roma of their possession, but I do have to take counter-measures. They don’t concede many because of the way the whole team plays, as for example Daniele De Rossi is the first defender who cuts off through balls and crosses. If we press him, then he goes deep to get the ball on the line with the defenders.
“I also tried out the three-man defence, as that could help battle Francesco Totti, Kevin Strootman and Miralem Pjanic making their forward runs. I can see how the game develops and even change after 10 minutes.
“Roma do have weaknesses, I have evaluated them during the week with my team, but I won’t say them here in a Press conference. I will say I’ll put Lazio in a position to trouble Roma.”
Abdoulay Konko is not 100 per cent, while Reja confirmed Etrit Berisha will again be in goal with Federico Marchetti benched.
“Miroslav Klose felt the derby very intensely, so I told him to go fishing for a day to relax. He had asked me to skip Wednesday’s training session and I made him miss Friday too, seeing as usually there isn’t much done that day.”
Reja is no stranger to the Derby della Capitale, losing his first four and winning the last two.
“The derby is always a huge responsibility and I haven’t slept for a week because I’ve been studying Roma. I’d love to trip them up.
“It is difficult to break them down through the middle, so best to hit them down the flanks. Their greatest strength is the pace on the attack and their intensity, as sometimes they push very hard for 30 minutes.
“When I first arrived in December, we had to look over our shoulders. With a result against Roma, we could look forward to the Europa League places. It would also silence some of the controversy we’ve had recently and change the scenario at Lazio.
“I hope to again experience the emotions of my first victorious Rome Derby. That goal at the end from Klose is my favourite football memory along with Napoli’s promotion.”
Stefano Mauri is available again after his ban in a betting scandal expired and his last game was the Coppa Italia Final against Roma on May 26.
“He has had a difficult eight or nine months and is happy to be back in the derby. He doesn’t have match fitness, so it’s really not wise to play him from the start in a game like this.”