Saturday February 15 2014
Reja demands intense Lazio

Edy Reja told Lazio a third consecutive away victory at Catania would bring them closer to Europe.

This Serie A tie kicks off in Sicily on Sunday at 11.30 GMT, click here for a match preview.

“This is the start of a decisive group of games,” said the Coach in his Press conference.

“We’re in a good period of form and must bring consistency. A positive result would give us a better chance of catching those positions that are within our reach. We have vast competition for European places, though, including Verona, Milan and Torino.”

Lazio held Roma to a draw in last week’s derby and must prepare for their Europa League tie with Ludogorets on Thursday.

“I want to see 90 minutes of an aggressive and confident Lazio. Rolando Maran has returned to Catania and improved matters, as he already knew the squad.

“They were unlucky not to win at Parma last week, as they did enough to deserve the three points. This means they’re in good shape and the fans will have more belief too. We’ve got to raise the tempo as much as possible.”

Federico Marchetti will be dropped again, as he is “still not 100 per cent” after muscular and stomach problems, so Etrit Berisha keeps the gloves.

“I think within 15-20 days Marchetti should be 100 per cent recovered and back to his best,” said Reja.

“I can rotate the squad a little, as I have more options now with Lucas Biglia back from his ban, plus Stefano Mauri, Keita, Alvaro Gonzalez and Eddy Onazi. We’ll think about Thursday after the Catania game.

“I can reveal we’ll be using a four-man defence, as that also gives us something more going forward. I need intensity, because Catania will have a lot of it. They are gambling with their Serie A safety.”

Brayan Perea is carrying a muscular problem, but Helder Postiga is still unavailable after his January transfer.

“It was my fault with Postiga, as we pushed to have him recover quicker and you can’t joke around with muscles. He also wanted to test himself out on the training ground, but it just made the situation more complicated.

“We’ll have to wait a while longer to have him available. It’s a shame, as he got this knock on January 23, but had played regularly before then.

“I like Gael Kakuta, as he has good technique, takes men on and has a strong shot. We’ll be able to use him in the Europa League or Serie A, but he must learn to transfer his skills from training on to a match situation.”

Finally, Reja was asked about the on-going controversy surrounding youth team player Joseph Minala, as doubts remain as to whether he really is 17.

“I think everything is fine. He comes from an amateur team, the documents and passport say everything is in order.”

Lazio squad for Catania: Marchetti, Berisha, Strakosha; Biava, Dias, Konko, Ciani, Cavanda, Cana, Novaretti, Radu; Ledesma, Gonzalez, Candreva, Biglia, Felipe Anderson, Onazi, Mauri, Lulic, Crecco; Perea, Keita, Klose, Kakuta

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