Edy Reja wants Lazio to stay top of the table after the Rome derby, warning his squad not to “get caught out by tension or a reaction foul.”
The Biancocelesti are the surprise leaders of Serie A and welcome their struggling neighbours in Sunday afternoon's Derby della Capitale.
“Derby and the rest of the season apart, our objective is for every year to have Lazio in the top six positions. We are on the right track this term,” said Reja.
“We must concentrate on this match, but also look at the wider picture. I can see how much people care about the derby within the city, but I am also aware that my squad can put in a great performance against anyone.”
Part of being a big club is knowing how to take a step back from the intense and often explosive rivalry.
“I hope that tomorrow nobody lets themselves get caught out by tension or a reaction foul, because clearly we are facing an important match that must be approached in a clear-headed way if we are to do well.”
The tension caught out Sergio Floccari, who missed a penalty in Lazio's 2-1 defeat last season.
“Floccari felt ill for a week afterwards, so we'd all like to take ‘revenge' for that loss. The derby is a game where you cannot predict any type of result, as incidents can go for or against you. I feel the emotion of the most important derby of my career, but I try not to show it.
“I must admit it would be particularly gratifying to win the derby and simultaneously extend our advantage at the top of the table. I can't even imagine how satisfied the lads would be at their leadership after beating Roma.
“However, the fact we are top of the table could be a negative factor on us, as we'd think about conserving that spot.”
Roma are struggling and will be without suspended captain Francesco Totti, but secured back-to-back wins over Lecce and Basel.
“Claudio Ranieri is right when he says they have potential that has not yet been expressed. Roma are dangerous, especially from set plays, but considering Lazio's current form it is impossible to make predictions.”
Reja confirmed Guglielmo Stendardo will step in for the suspended Giuseppe Biava.