Montella eyeing return to form

Roma coach Vincenzo Montella is hoping to offset the hurt of their Champions League exit with a win over Lazio in Sunday’s league derby.

Montella watched from the touchline as Roma were bundled out of the Champions League by Shakhtar Donetsk on Tuesday, and has instructed his players to win back their fans with a strong performance against their city rivals in the Serie A.

It is Montella’s first derby at the Roma helm, though he experienced many in his time as a player for the club.

The Italian, who has gone undefeated in Serie A since replacing Claudio Ranieri in February, is expecting a typically fierce and difficult encounter.

“I’ve asked my players to face this derby as calmly as they can,” Montella said.

“There will be many implications from tomorrow’s match. Of course it’s important for both teams for their position in the table and it’s important for us because we have the chance to try to win back our fans.”

“That’s why I expect a warm welcome tomorrow. Roma supporters know how to cheer their players on when they want and that’s my hope for tomorrow.”

“The team understood the mistakes made in Donetsk and is in good shape. Of course we will play to win, as the rest of the games played up to now.”

“It has been a difficult week, but I think I’ve managed to keep the team calm. Lazio are bound to be the favourites, as they’re ahead of us in the table, but there will be the usual fiery derby atmosphere.”

“Lazio have an expert coach (Edy Reja), the team is very balanced, they have talented players that are able to make the difference on the pitch and they are a close group.”

“Lazio has all the characteristics of a dream team. I think the coach should be praised for creating such a group of players.”

“We are not afraid, I don’t think my players are at all afraid, that’s just something journalists are saying. We are ready for the derby and ready to win it and I’m sure Lazio is the same.”