Simone Inzaghi asked Lazio to beat not only Hellas Verona, but also their own bad luck amid an injury crisis. “The defeat to Napoli fortified us.”
It kicks off on Sunday at 14.00 UK time (13.00 GMT), click here for a match preview.
The Aquile lost their first competitive match of the campaign on Wednesday night, falling 4-1 to Napoli, but had been leading until a run of injuries.
They go into the Bentegodi tomorrow afternoon without Stefan de Vrij, Wallace, Bastos, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, Dusan Basta, Luis Nani and Felipe Anderson.
“We all saw Wednesday’s game. It was a great Lazio for 45 minutes, then things happened. We lost a game that we didn’t deserve to lose based on the first half,” said the Coach in his Press conference.
“Now we’ve got to set it aside. The lads were disappointed after that match, but these things happen. Now our minds are focused only on Verona.
“I complimented my team after the Napoli game, because we did everything that we had prepared and had 52 per cent of possession, which I doubt anyone has managed against Napoli. We made them run and just should’ve been more concentrated on the goals we conceded.”
Amid the crisis in defence, Lazio have brought back Mauricio, who had been frozen out of the squad awaiting a transfer.
“Mauricio seems very motivated, I trained him in my first seven games at Lazio and he’ll be useful. We’ll see if he gets used tomorrow.
“Patric could play in the back three. I tested out a four-man defence too, so we have some decisions to make. I have various options and the team is mature enough to adjust.
“I don’t think the defeat will hurt the team psychologically, as if anything a first half performance like that would give you confidence. We lost, but everyone saw the performance we were putting in. All those injuries were a fluke occurrence and we paid the price.
“We’re in a difficult situation right now, but we’ll do our best. Bastos is out for three weeks, Basta four to five weeks. We’ll try to have De Vrij and Milinkovic back for Sassuolo next Sunday.
“The fitness training was not to blame for those injuries, as last season we were one of the three sides in Serie A with the least problems. Maybe the defenders got hurt because we had fewer of them and so they didn’t have a chance to rest.
“Until the break for international duty, we’ll be in an emergency situation, but I trust my players. In my view, the defeat to Napoli fortified us, because we proved on the pitch that we were not inferior to them. With our ideas, we can stay close to the top four.”
Hellas Verona ended their losing streak with a 0-0 draw against Sampdoria.
“It’ll be a tough game, as Verona are not an easy opponent. They have more or less the same side that earned promotion from Serie B last season, a fine Coach and passionate fans.
“Verona are in good shape physically and run hard. My team knows it’s not easy, but if we are focused, we can do it.”
See the latest Serie A predictions and betting tips with Eurotips.co.uk