Aurelio Andreazzoli realises “it’s all or nothing” for Roma in the Coppa Italia Final against Lazio on Sunday.
The Coach only actually took charge of the semi-final second leg after taking over from Zdenek Zeman in February, but has the chance to make history with the club’s 10th Coppa triumph.
“This is different to the other derbies, as it is valid for silverware, for Europa League qualification and for local pride. Which is more important? It doesn’t matter, this is all or nothing,” said Andreazzoli in his Press conference.
“Of course my merits only represent a small part of what got us to this Final, but if I must thank anyone then it’s the players. All of us, including my predecessor, must be grateful to the players for all they have done this year.
“I know that I have the opportunity to enter the history books of this club, as not many can say they won the 10th Coppa Italia for Roma.
“It was only normal to feel the stress this week, but we tried to keep the schedule normal. The only real difference was sleeping in the training camp from Friday night and sticking to a rigid meal plan.
“We also had fun and so far I haven’t seen any particular nerves in the squad. Personally, I feel fortunate to be able to take part in such an important event and one that has so many emotions wrapped up in it.
“I don’t want to think about the negative aspects of the game, as I am concentrating on the positives, even beyond the result, as I hope everyone will in the stadium tomorrow.
“We want to win and so do Lazio. As with any sporting event, you go in knowing there is an opponent and contemplating the possibility of defeat is obvious, otherwise you may as well stay home. That is what sport is all about.
“The players have always behaved appropriately and shaken hands at the end of the derby, while the last encounter in April showed great fair play too. I don’t see why this should be any different.”
Roma failed to qualify for Europe via Serie A again and finished in sixth place, so would losing the Final to Lazio make this season a failure?
“I believe the expectations at the start of the campaign were very different and got a little complicated, but I wouldn’t call it a failure,” insisted Andreazzoli.
“After all, we are here talking about a match that is on the global map and can achieve two objectives in one result. Lazio are in the exact same condition, so a victory could turn the season into a fantastic one.”
There are considerably more Romans in the Giallorossi squad than Lazio, but many fear this could be counter-productive in terms of tension.
“We spoke to everyone, although the Romans with a little more attention, but what we want is to do our best without letting other considerations, attitudes or behaviour throw a spanner in the works. We had this general discussion, not aimed at three or four players in particular.
“The same goes for the fans, as I’ve rarely seen crowd trouble inside the stadium during a Rome derby. The trouble, if there is any, happens outside. There will be thousands of children in the Stadio Olimpico tomorrow and we have a unique opportunity to send a message to them, their families and the world watching Rome. We mustn’t let that chance go to waste.”