Saturday February 22 2014
Reja: 'Real fans help Lazio'

Edy Reja asked Lazio’s “real fans” to help the team rather than protest during their game with Sassuolo.

It kicks off at the Stadio Olimpico on Sunday at 19.45 GMT, click here for a match preview.

Mass protests are expected in the stands with banners calling for President Claudio Lotito to sell the club after back-to-back defeats with Catania and Ludogorets.

“It has been a difficult week,” confessed the Coach in his Press conference.

“I wasn’t satisfied after Catania and wanted a different attitude. I can consider myself partially satisfied against Ludogorets, as we had chances, hit the bar and saw a penalty saved. The team was aggressive after the break, so I saw some positives, even if we lost.

“The atmosphere tomorrow could affect us. The players aren’t satisfied, there’s no point hiding it. We talked very little about Sassuolo and about football, but what interests me is being able to win the game. We’ll do our best to get a victory and calm the atmosphere around us.

“There has been some criticism in the locker room. We analysed the positives and negatives, but in three days we cannot just destroy all the good work we’d done beforehand.

“Criticism is often exaggerated around this team and we mustn’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. We were in a positive streak, there were these two setbacks and now we’ll try to get back on our feet. We have to win, there are no other alternatives.”

Reja was asked whether he had a message for the fans and President Lotito.

“I’ve known the President for a long time and he always acts in good faith. Sometimes he targets objectives that for one reason or another don’t go through.

“Everyone has their own ideas and want to do what is best for Lazio. It is a difficult atmosphere and we talked about it a great deal in recent weeks. I am convinced fans will come to the stadium and help the team. That’s what I ask, for them to help us after these two defeats. I’d like the real Lazio fans to help the team, as we need them.

“Sassuolo made a lot of changes in January and have a new Coach in Alberto Malesani. He was unlucky to face some big clubs straight away, but I expect his team to be aggressive and it’s our duty to match them blow for blow. We need a great performance.”

Helder Postiga arrived in the January transfer window, but has been injured the entire time and is yet to make his debut.

“Will we see two strikers together? We could do. I don’t have Postiga at the moment and frankly expected to be able to field him sooner. Miroslav Klose will start, then we’ll see if he can hold out for 90 minutes. We’ve had three days to recover and he doesn’t feel pain.

“Some people accused me of underestimating the Europa League test, but I knew Andre Dias, Giuseppe Biava and Abdoulay Konko weren’t in good shape, while Antonio Candreva couldn’t last 90 minutes.

“I didn’t expect us to go into the break 1-0 down, then we had the chances to turn it around. Not everyone can play every three days.

“It would be disappointing if we went out of the Europa League at the Round of 32, but there are still 90 minutes to go and we’ll try to do the best we can. The final word has not been said.”

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