Lazio coach Edy Reja has warned his players not to be complacent when they host bottom-placed Bari in the Italian capital on Sunday.
A European berth is in the offing with Lazio positioned fourth on the Serie A table – two points from the Champions League places – following their a 2-0 win at Brescia last Sunday.
Next up is a clash with strugglers Bari, whose goalless draw against Genoa last weekend ended a string of six straight league losses.
Victory at the Stadio Olimpico seems assured, but Reja has pleaded with his players to match the intensity they have shown in previous weeks against the relegation battlers.
“There shouldn’t be taking any games lightly, since these matches should all be played with intensity,” Reja said.
“It would mean going back on the good performance we put in against Brescia. We want to achieve continuous good results.”
“I know that this is going to be a difficult match, since Bari have changed their coach and will be highly motivated.”
“They are last in the ranking and will be coming to Rome to play against Lazio, who are among the top teams and are also considered to be a team playing well.”
“Therefore they will be playing freely and when you play with such mentality, you have nothing to lose and therefore you can put in good performances.”
‘In any case I strongly believe in the standard that Lazio have achieved recently.”
With the top of the Serie A table so hotly contested – leaders Milan are only seven points away – Reja is aware of just how important every victory is to Lazio and hopes his charges can equip themselves capably as the latter stages unfold.
“Right now we’re entering the key moments of the season,” Reja said.
“As you can remember, we have already said in October, November and December that the most important moments will be in this period, when there are still seven, eight or 10 matches till the end of the championship.”
“Who has the right mental and physical condition and who has already undergone the difficult moments surely has the advantage. We should try to do our best at the moment.”
“This team is now improving, as I’ve said before. I hope that, after the win against Brescia, we will hold the self-esteem we had lost lately.”
“We have done our best to find this spirit again. In order to achieve this, the team has to play at 100 percent and get results.”
“The winning mentality is created only by winning; otherwise you can’t have such mentality.”