Thursday February 27 2014
Reja: 'Lazio gifted qualification'

“We gifted it to them,” shrugged Edy Reja after a 3-3 draw at Ludogorets saw Lazio go out of the Europa League.

The Biancocelesti had lost the first leg 1-0 at home, then scored in Sofia after just 17.8 seconds, but they repeatedly fumbled the advantage to crash out 4-3 on aggregate.

“It is disappointing considering the performance. To score three goals here and still abandon the competition brings regret and disappointment,” said the Coach in his Press conference.

“It was a great game and we kept up the tempo. We should’ve just kept more control after going 2-0 up. Certain indecisions compromised the game.

“I was convinced we would go through, both when 2-0 up and 3-2 up. Ludogorets didn’t have many scoring opportunities and we gifted it to them. We certainly deserved more, but evidently it was destiny we had to go out.”

There were some defensive howlers, including Federico Marchetti dropping the ball on the line, though replays suggest perhaps it didn’t cross over completely.

“Perhaps we overlooked possession at times in favour of individual moves. We couldn’t keep leaving their organisers undisturbed, as you have to put pressure on them. It’s not acceptable to have a defensive distraction on a pass from 70 metres.

“In the first half Marchetti was confident. There were some unfortunate incidents that all piled up on him and he hadn’t played in a while, so was shaken. When the score is 3-3 you can’t be hesitant on the ball, you need to attack it.

“The decisive goal was horrifying, as we really made too many mistakes. We deserved victory and unfortunately these incidents condemned us to an early exit.

“Over the 180 minutes we deserved something more. Maybe somebody up there doesn’t like us.”

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