Vladimir Petkovic is fully aware tomorrow’s Coppa Italia Final against Roma “leads to a triple objective.”
His debut Serie A campaign had been very strong until February, reaching the Europa League quarter-final and battling for third.
However, a late dip in results and fitness levels saw them tumble, so winning the Coppa is the only way of qualifying for Europe.
“I am very satisfied with the way the team responded to our pre-match training camp in Norcia,” he said in his Press conference.
“This team spirit will help us to win the game tomorrow. The Coppa is worth a great deal, as winning a competition is never easy and we’re proud to have reached the Final. It’s true we expected more this season, but winning the Coppa would be wonderful.
“I am very proud to be leading these lads who gave their all with fine results in Italy and Europe. They deserve success tomorrow. More importantly, they must step on to the field with the pleasure of playing and enjoying their football, aware we are strong and have everything it takes to win this Final.”
Both Lazio and Roma can only qualify for the Europa League by lifting the silverware at the Olimpico on Sunday.
“This game leads to a triple objective,” continued Petkovic. “We must qualify for Europe, win a derby and win a trophy. It will be important to put all that out of our minds, as we must focus only on positivity and winning the game.
“What do I fear most about Roma? Fear is a bad word to use, as this is sport and we must never fear anything. Of course there was some tension in the training camp, but that is only normal ahead of such a big game.
“I don’t believe this result will affect my future. Evaluations always come at the end of the season and this is an opportunity to enter the history books with this club.”
Petkovic was asked whether losing the Coppa Italia Final would make this season ‘a failure.’
“I don’t think so. It would be disappointing, as we went so far in all the competitions. Now we must see everything in a positive light and battle to win this last game.”
The Coach confirmed Lazio have practiced set plays, penalty shoot-outs and even playing with 10 men, while they worked with a ‘mental coach.’
“The most important aspect of this match is the mentality. It will be fundamental to remain concentrated and calm.
“I have already had experience of working with a mental coach, as he helps us to raise our abilities and potential. It is a journey we’ve just begun and we want to continue, but he is also very useful for me when dealing with individual players. In football these are innovative techniques that aren’t used much.
“This is a Cup Final and it is a derby, so combine them and everything is ramped up a few notches. All this expectation and pressure must turn into motivation to give our all.”