Wednesday December 11 2013
Petkovic: 'I believe in Lazio'

“I believe in this squad,” insisted under-fire Lazio Coach Vladimir Petkovic ahead of a showdown with Trabzonspor.

Both teams have already qualified for the next round of the Europa League, but a victory would send the Biancocelesti through top of the group.

It kicks off at the Stadio Olimpico at 20.05 GMT and follows on from a thrilling 3-3 draw in Turkey. Click here for our Europa League section.

“Can the Europa League give a rosier hue to this season? It’s rosy anyway, as we achieved our first objective with qualification and now want to finish top. It can help us in future,” said the Coach in his Press conference.

“Recently I have been happy with the cohesion and style of the team, which we have rediscovered. If we analyse the recent games, we played well and simply did not get the result due to individual errors. There are few matches in which our opponents out-played us.

“Obviously when the results don’t come it can affect your confidence, losing the belief we had last season when we felt that we could always resolve matters.

“I believe in this squad and these lads. I very rarely felt otherwise, as this group gives its all. We must, without too many proclamations or comments, show that on the field.

“These three points would be fundamental for the end of the year. We haven’t won in 10 matches, but we have also lost only one of our last 19 European ties. Not many sides can boast that run.”

Petkovic was asked whether he had received reassurances from President Claudio Lotito after Lazio were linked with numerous tacticians.

“I usually reassure myself. I am strong enough to smile through what is going on around me. Not much of what has been written in the papers is actually true. You journalists realise that too, which is why you keep repeating the same questions four or five times, but you’ll always have the same answers.

“We are weak at the moment only on the field and that is where we must react.”

Juventus were eliminated from the Champions League today against Galatasaray, so will go into the draw for the Europa League knockouts.

“It is terrible news for Italian football,” noted Petkovic. “They will be the favourites in the Europa League and having the Final in Turin will add further motivation. That’s the great thing about the Europa League, as from January onwards you get better teams who raise the level of the competition.

“That is why it is important to win tomorrow so we don’t have to face those sides straight away.”
Petkovic hinted Miroslav Klose could be available after suffering from a shoulder injury.

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