Wednesday September 13 2017
Inzaghi: 'Lucas Leiva in defence'

Simone Inzaghi hints Lucas Leiva could play at centre-back in Lazio’s Europa League opener against Vitesse.

The Europa League opener kicks off in Arnhem on Thursday at 20.05 UK time (19.05 GMT).

“This competition means as much to us as Serie A, because we worked so hard and made so many sacrifices to earn this opportunity,” said the Coach in his Press conference.

“It’s wonderful to be back in Europe and it’ll be tough from the very beginning, as Vitesse are in good shape and doing well domestically.

“Now we know that there are six difficult games ahead of us, so I need to evaluate my squad on a daily basis. Everyone will have the chance to play, but I won’t be giving anybody gifts – it all has to be earned.

“We want to do well in Europe and reward the sacrifices we made last season. The right mentality is essential, especially in a group where we are considered one of the favourites.”

Lazio are in the same group as Vitesse, Nice and Zulte Waregem.

“I said from the day of the draw that Vitesse were the toughest option in their pot. We could’ve been luckier. We already know Dutch football well.”

The Biancocelesti lost Lucas Biglia, Keita Balde Diao and Wesley Hoedt this summer, but gained the likes of Felipe Caicedo and Lucas Leiva.

“Caicedo joined us after missing 10 days of training, so he needed time to get on the same level as the others, but I think I’ll use him tomorrow.

“Lucas Leiva settled in brilliantly. He’s such a positive guy and that helps. It’s true we have problems in defence at the moment, so I tried him at centre-back in training, considering Wallace’s absene.

“There’s also Luis Felipe, but our European debut seems like excessive responsibility to put on the shoulders of one so young.”

See the latest Serie A predictions and betting tips with