Edy Reja told Lazio to “transform anger into positive energy” against Fiorentina and defended Federico Marchetti.
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Confidence is at an all-time low in the Aquile camp after their Europa League exit to Bulgarian side Ludogorets on Thursday – partly due to a series of howlers from goalkeeper Marchetti – and another protest planned against President Claudio Lotito.
“We just have to focus on the game with Fiorentina, as the pitch will give the real verdict,” said Reja in his Press conference.
“There is an atmosphere of protest around us and we did lack something against Ludogorets. It’s also true that we’re not sure whether the ball completely crossed the line or not on one of the goals. We have seen that the goal-line referees have not solved the problem, so with technology it’d be a lot simpler. Even video replays didn’t entirely clarify it.”
That goal saw Marchetti take a step back and appear to block the ball either just past the line or with a few millimetres on it.
It was one of several errors that saw the goalkeeper torn apart by fans and media.
“He was massacred in the Press and in my opinion deserved more consideration. Will he start or Etrit Berisha? I’ll evaluate that tomorrow morning.
“I spoke to Marchetti, we are all close to him and the last goal wasn’t all his fault, as there were other errors first. These things can happen. He felt strong and motivated, so I threw him on the field. It’s a shame this situation happened.”
The Coach also commented on 18-year-old talent Keita Balde Diao, who scored after 17.8 seconds in the 3-3 draw with Ludogorets.
“I thought in the second half he’d hold out for longer. He has the strength to be consistent for 90 minutes, but didn’t live up to the opening half-hour.
“I spoke to the team and told them we must turn that anger and irritation into positive energy so we can get back on track in Serie A. We didn’t deserve to go out of the Europa League and incidents went against us.
“We do need to improve in one aspect, which is maintaining the same courage and fire when we are in front. We need this step up in quality on a psychological level.
“Tomorrow we are facing a Fiorentina side that plays very well with a Coach I respect a great deal. I said it even before a Rome Derby a few years ago when Vincenzo Montella was with the Giallorossi. He’s a great man and a great Coach.”
Lazio are now out of the Coppa Italia and 10th in Serie A, so Reja was asked if failing to qualify for Europe would make this season a failure.
“It’s a rather dramatic scenario, as since I arrived we’ve had an average of two points per game. If we keep that up, then we can reach the Europa League spots.”