Lazio director Igli Tare feels they ‘deserve to be here tonight’ playing against Bayern Munich in the Champions League Round of 16 and reveals when Sergej Milinkovic-Savic almost left.
The first leg kicks off at 20.00 GMT, click here for the line-ups and LIVEBLOG.
“I feel proud. Proud of this team, proud of the work we’ve done over the years and I think we deserve to be here tonight playing against the best side in the world,” Tare told Sky Sport Italia.
“Maybe it’s better than we played on Saturday in Serie A, as we didn’t have much time to think about it. I saw the team fired up and you could tell in training this morning they had the right spark needed to put in a great performance.
“We have quite an experienced team, we’re back in this competition after 13 years and I think we have what it takes to stay there. It has been a long journey with many difficulties, but now that we are here, we want to stay.”
Lazio were caught on the counter in a 3-1 defeat to Inter 10 days ago, so have they learned from those errors?
“We analysed the defeat to Inter carefully, we know that we need to be prudent in the transitions, because Bayern always have four or five attacking players, they win it back and put long balls for the wingers, who are good at one-on-one situations.
“We know that we need to keep possession well, as the moment we get past their first press, we can hurt them too.”
Tare was asked for the moment when Lazio really did pull out all the stops to resist offers for their star players.
“With all honesty, President Claudio Lotito deserved the credit. We had a moment two years ago with a very strong offer for Milinkovic-Savic on the final day of the transfer session. I held my hands up and said it was up to the patron.
“He replied that we wanted to grow and challenge to get into the Champions League. The costs have gone up, we are forced to balance the books always, especially in a moment like this which is difficult for clubs all over the world.
“I give Lotito the credit, as he took the sacrifices necessary to achieve this.”