A buoyant Edy Reja has not ruled out Lazio’s late and unlikely entrance into the title race after their Derby della Capitale win at the weekend.
The Biancocelesti’s 2-1 win over Roma on Sunday, combined with Udinese’s 0-0 at home to Atalanta, saw them take third spot outright.
Just three points behind Juventus, albeit having played a game more, and six behind League leaders Milan, Reja was cautious but optimistic when asked of how far Lazio can go off the back of the derby momentum.
“I want you to recognise the values of this team,” the tactician declared on Monday afternoon.
“We must always go on to the field to win. Now, let’s enjoy this, but even with Bologna it will be tough and that is followed by facing the revelation of the League, Catania.
“We have to think about doing the best we can, achieving the maximum, then if we do not win, it is only because the opponent is better than us.”
Talking to Lazio Style Radio, the 66-year-old was in an upbeat mood.
“After a week of insomnia, I finally slept well and I woke up at ease - yesterday was a great joy, many friends have sent me messages and I have received many phone calls, thank you everyone.
“There has always been a unity and purpose to the team. Of course I have to then make choices and some may get upset, but then they all understand because they are smart guys. It is a big group and above all a humble group.”
The Aquile won the derby despite eight first team absences. Reja took time to praise the impact two of those who came in had on Sunday - Lionel Scaloni and Javier Garrido.
“They were the important elements, entering a derby is not easy. Scaloni has personality and craft, I had no doubts about him.
“Garrido is a sensitive boy and I had some question marks but it went very well. They are both attached to these colours.
“Roma have quality, but we were stronger. If we had remained playing with equal numbers, the game would have been more beautiful but I think we would have won anyway.”
Sections of the team’s support on Sunday were heard racially abusing Roma defender Juan during the second half, which has led to the club being fined €20,000.
“I was sorry to hear certain things, I don’t want that to happen again. I was pleased, however, to see my players reassure their opponent. It gives you an idea of the human depth to this group.”