Reja preparing for Roman duel

Lazio coach Edy Reja is already looking forward to the Rome derby next weekend after his side triumphed 2-0 over Palermo on Sunday.

Lazio consolidated their hold on third on the Serie A table with victory at the Stadio Olimpico, which came courtesy of a Giuseppe Sculli brace inside the first 18 minutes.

But the Italian striker was substituted off in the 52nd minute for what Reja described as an allergic reaction to the pitch, which had been treated with green paint to cover up patches of dry grass.

Reja’s men will face Roma next Sunday in a clash vital to both teams’ hopes of securing European berths.

Roma have gone undefeated since manager Vincenzo Montella took over from Claudio Ranieri, and Reja is anticipating a thrilling encounter.

“We struggled a little in the second half (on Sunday), even if we defended in an organised fashion,” Reja said.

“I expected a little more push, but we took our foot off the accelerator.”

“Now there is the derby next week. Roma have quality and experience, so we’ve got to give it heart, just as we have done up until now.”

“We are slightly ahead of them in the standings and hope we can keep both Roma and Udinese behind us. I’ve lost a few derbies, so I hope it’s our turn this time round.”

“I have brought harmony back to the locker room and that was a great conquest for me.”

Palermo coach Serse Cosmi experienced a first-up defeat after replacing Delio Rossi, and did not mince words in his first post-match press conference.

“I had a great deal of enthusiasm and hunger to get back to work, but we were shocking in the first 20 minutes,” Cosmi said.

“We were too timid, so Lazio were allowed to go in front too easily and then doubled their lead straight after.”

“There’s a long way to go yet, but the fact remains we basically lost to their only two shots on goal.”