Edy Reja confirms the derby “has crucial meaning for the season” as Lazio deal with an ever-increasing injury crisis.
Abdoullay Konko and Stefan Radu have failed to recover in time for the Sunday afternoon showdown with Roma, joining Senad Lulic, Cristian Brocchi, Luciano Zauri, Lorik Cana, Marius Stankevicius and probably Tommaso Rocchi on the treatment table.
“We have become accustomed to absentees for some time, so whoever steps on to the field will give their all,” said the Coach whose resignation was rejected last week.
“The derby is a special game and has crucial meaning for the season. With the internationals returning, I opted against tactical work yesterday, so we just focused on fitness.”
Roma also have their problems, as Daniel Pablo Osvaldo, Fernando Gago and Marco Cassetti are all suspended after a 4-1 hammering at the hands of Atalanta.
“The Giallorossi have a different philosophy to other teams. Their sparkling style of football involves wide men and midfielders all pushing forward. The Coach is trying to bring a new style of play into a young and technically-gifted side.”
Reja had never won a Rome derby before the last-gasp 2-1 victory earlier this season.
“I have felt the pressure since the start of the week. It is a very important moment within the capital and I hope Lazio can enjoy it as much as the last game. We are going through a positive period and have much more confidence.
“Lazio need head and heart in the derby. I am just sad that Lulic is out, as he had the characteristics to really hurt Roma, but we’ll figure something out. The Giallorossi have no weak points, but we must make the most of the spaces they leave with great intensity. I am here to win and we want a result.
“Italian football is lived with exaggerated passion. Anyone who wins the Rome derby can then relax for six months. It’s one of the most important derbies on the international football stage.”
As Reja threatened to quit only last week, he was asked whether this will be his final Derby della Capitale.
“You never know in football, but I hope not. There are three months to the end of the season and then we’ll see if we go our separate ways or create consistency, but right now we must focus on the derby.”