Lazio address their weaknesses ahead of Rome derby

In the build up to the Rome derby on Sunday night, former Lazio Coach Delio Rossi said: “The future belongs to Roma but Lazio are the side of today.” While Roma’s squad has had an overhaul, Lazio have strengthened in key areas to build on last season’s strong showing.
Roma signed over ten new players in the summer, most of them young, with the likes of Bojan Krkic and Jose Angel freshening up a squad beginning to show its age. Meanwhile Lazio made some shrewd signings as well, bringing in much travelled French international forward Djibril Cisse and German hitman Miroslav Klose.
The strikers were signed to give Lazio an edge in the final third, an area that had perhaps let them down last season (Lazio’s top scorer was midfielder Hernanes) when a little more quality in the box could have propelled them into the Champions League. Therefore it is not surprising after just seven games in all competitions Klose is already on five goals, while Cisse has found the net four times in five games.
According to Rossi the acquisitions of both strikers is part of the reason why he thinks the Biancocelesti are the stronger team right now, the other being the Coach: “They are more proven as a team right now. They kept hold of their tactician and then signed players which boss Edy Reja requested.”
Being given time in Italian football is something of a rarity and Reja has already nearly walked out this season in reaction to the fans being unhappy. However, Lazio president Claudio Lotito managed to talk him out of it and he will now be hoping giving Reja time will enable the tactician to build on the positives of last season, when they qualified for the Europa League, and possibly reach the Champions League this campaign.
It is a strategy that has been successful for a number of other Italian clubs in recent times. In 2010 current Italy boss Cesare Prandelli took his Fiorentina side to the last 16 of Europe’s premier club competition after previously doing well in the Uefa cup. The rise of Napoli is a similar story as they also reached the knockout stage of the same competition. The key element in those stories was the Coach was given time.
Not only does it seem like Reja will be given time but it helps the base of the side have played together for a while too, particularly in midfield. Able to change shape between a 4-4-2 diamond and a 4-2-3-1 the likes of Stefano Mauri and Hernanes offer goal threats and creativity while Oriundi Christian Ledesma has been at the heart of the Lazio midfield for a number of years.
It is this flexibility Rossi was eluding too, of a team having built something solid, knowing their strengths and addressing their weakness. Solid they may be, one key stat the Lazio Coach will want to be changing on Sunday will be his record as Lazio boss against their bitter rivals. Having played Roma four times since taking over, he is still yet to win.

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