The bookmakers may be backing Lazio over Roma in this weekend’s Rome derby, but Cristian Brocchi warns his teammates to respect the Giallorossi.
Lazio are seven points and two places better off than their city rivals heading into the second derby of the season. Despite only winning the first one through a dramatic stoppage-time winner, the Aquile are favourites to succeed again in Week 26, something that midfielder Brocchi is sceptical of.
“With respect, I don’t think the League table counts,” the 36-year-old mused to the Press on Friday.
“Last year we arrived for the game in front, yet the Rome derby was marred for us, despite the great season we had.
“I do not agree at all that Roma are the underdogs. It is a game unlike any other, it is not about ranking, nor that they have lost and we have won the last one, nor their difficulties last weekend.
“The game will contain the values you bring to the field and the personality that each player has is so important in this contest.”
The derby is also a clash of playing philosophy, from Luis Enrique’s Spanish, possession-based style to Edy Reja’s Italian organisation and discipline.
“It is particularly interesting, two opposing ideas for football, two types of Coaches - one in his infancy and is very good, the other that has a long career that speaks for him.
“I have always said that Roma play a good and entertaining style of football, which obviously has some weaknesses. We play a less entertaining game but it is very effective.
“For morale, it is important to win the derby - it gives positivity and happiness to the entire club.
“If we win this game then we’ll be happy, but definitely even more so would our fans be, because we know that it is important for them to go around the city with the knowledge that they have won.”
Brocchi was close to successfully returning from injury to play for this game, but will only watch from the sidelines.
“It will be a great derby and I’m really sorry not to be involved, it is a game that gives such great emotions, it is one that highlights all the efforts you have made during the year and during your career.
“It will be nice for those who play and for those who attend the game, we hope that at the end they are all happy.”