Wednesday June 6 2012
Calling Doctor Petkovic

Lazio have today unveiled their new boss. Rocco Cammisola introduces you to Dr Vladimir Petkovic.

“I’m tired, I’m leaving Lazio and this time I won’t change my mind.” Those were the words Edy Reja used to mark his exit from Lazio at the end of the season. The capital club’s hope for new energy for 2012-13 comes in the form of his replacement, Bosnian-born Croat technician Vladimir Petkovic. Arriving off the back of a relegation play-out victory at the helm of Swiss side FC Sion, Petkovic becomes the first foreign Coach at Lazio since the departure of Sven-Goran Eriksson in 2001.

Petkovic played the majority of his career as a midfielder in his home country and Switzerland, winning the 1984-85 Yugoslavian title with FK Sarajevo, before moving into management initially in a player-Coach role at Swiss side Bellinzona in 1997. In 2008 he gained promotion to the top flight and a Swiss Cup runners-up spot with Bellinzona and was lured to Young Boys. After 10 years coaching in the Swiss Second Division, Petkovic was finally allowed a chance to experience top flight football, attaining two second place finishes and another Swiss Cup runners-up place with the Bern club.

In Europe the side ruffled a few feathers when they achieved a 3-2 first leg victory against Tottenham Hotspur in the 2010-11 Champions League play-off round. The Coach can also be proud of similar victories that season against Fenerbahce, Stuttgart, Getafe and Luciano Spalletti’s Zenit St Petersburg. Indeed, Spalletti was very complimentary after his side’s first leg Round of 32 defeat, saying: “Young Boys can win or lose, but Petkovic’s signature is always clear. The side are united, a collective force with interesting individuals.”

Lazio President Claudio Lotito has given the new boss a two-year deal reportedly set to a €600,000 annual salary. However, collecting that pay cheque will be no formality. Reja did an admirable and at times miraculous job by raising Lazio from a relegation battle to consistent European challengers, but spelled out a number of problems as he left.

“I feel I’ve done and given a lot to this environment, but the truth is that there is an excessive amount of criticism that continues,” Reja reflected. One area he was criticised heavily for was the lack of goals in his negative playing style, where he was accused of often over-utilising long passes to build attacks.

Petkovic, nicknamed the Doctor, developed a reputation at Young Boys for looking to impose a style of play rather than reacting to the opposition, often preferring a 3-4-3 or 4-3-3. In the three seasons at Young Boys, Petkovic’s side had scored in excess of 65 goals each term, averaging over two a game, whilst at the other end conceding relatively few.

Last season the Biancocelesti incurred an incredible number of injuries, second only to Milan. The current Lazio squad is large but lacks depth and quality. It needs a great deal of refinement to achieve the cover necessary to challenge in multiple competitions next season. When the upcoming calcioscommesse verdicts are also taken into account, more than a few doses of medicine might be required before the Doctor can achieve his goals.

Have your say...
Well Lolito you have saved millions on a coach who has never done anything? so please can you spend some millions on good players? sell Zarate outright bring back Floccari and someone hide Zauri in the locker room for good
on the 7th June, 2012 at 7:46am
I disagree with some, as i do think that lazio performed to the maximum of capabilities and deserved their final position. Ok most times the football was not fantastic and was pretty mundane but despite injuries and the awful mess tare did in the january transfer window it was a fine season, just not awe inspiring! I Hope Petkovic does go with 343 or even a 523(wing backs)brings back zarate,keeps hold of Radu and brings in 2 no-nonsense defenders and im sure we will see some fireworks!
on the 7th June, 2012 at 7:26am
I really dont think Petkovic will fair any better than Reja did. Without a big financial pump from Lotito, Lazio will finish much lower in the table than they did this year. Lazio definetely overacheived the last time out.
on the 7th June, 2012 at 3:28am
There needs to be patience. Lazio over-achieved last season. Aside from a few players, they have an average squad. Lazio always seem to produce good young players, I hope that Petkovic makes full use of this.
on the 6th June, 2012 at 3:10pm
It may make or break Lazio but we will never know until the coach is given an opportunity to prove himself. Look at Juve, who would have thought Conte would win the league title let alone win it unbeaten.
on the 6th June, 2012 at 2:58pm

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