Saturday Apr 10, 2021  
  27/03/2012: How Many Roads Must Edy Walk Down?
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When Edoardo Reja replaced Davide Ballardini on the Lazio bench, the club were embroiled in a dogfight around the foot of the table. That was two and a half years ago now, and the Biancocelesti have never looked back since.

There are numerous top quality sides in Serie A, all believing they are worthy of a top three finish. So what are Lazio doing so well that has kept them there or there abouts ever since Reja took to the helm?

Last season’s fifth place finish was deemed a success in Rome, despite being pipped by Udinese to the final Champions League place, the position was a great deal better than the previous year’s 12th place finish.

I regularly ask myself, what does Reja have to do to keep the fans satisfied? Despite losing the likes of Mauro Zarate and Stephan Litchsteiner in the summer, the tactician has maintained consistency for much of his time in the Capital.

Competing in Europe this season, aswell as competing in the domestic league and cup schedule, finishing higher than fifth place was always going to be a tough ask.
Let’s not forget, most of Reja’s plans for the season went out of the window ever since the first casualty was added to the injury list, and it has been getting worse for Lazio ever since.

It is fair to say that the tactician does make his fair share of tactical mistakes, but so does every coach in the League. I honestly can’t see another coach getting more out of this team than Reja has this season.

Although handing his resignation in twice this season already, I believe this was Reja’s way of expressing his unhappiness within the board. Being let down in the Mercato, by weakening an already thin squad, Lotito and Tare then found themselves trying to lend Reja an unwanted helping hand in team tactics. You can see Reja’s point.

After achieving back to back wins in the Derby della Capitale this season, Reja and the fans seemed to turn the corner, but it is still apparent that there is a large amount of dislike towards the coach.

With just nine matches remaining, the Biancoceleste are sitting third in the league. That is the third best team in the league behind Juventus and Milan, and with all that has happened injury wise this is some achievement for a squad of Lazio’s depth.

I personally think it will be the right decision to renew Reja’s contract in the summer, as I have a feeling president Claudio Lotito has seen what could maybe happen with some added quality.

If the coach has a fully fit squad as of next season, and Lotito gifts Reja with some new talent; it will be an exciting season for Lazio. There are a number of Primavera players also looking to break into the senior squad, and who know’s; the Biancoceleste could find themselves playing in the Champions League.

Despite hitting a bad spell of form recently, Lazio bounced back to winning ways thanks to a late winner against Cagliari from Mobido Diakite, this has reignited Laazio’s push for a third place finish.

If Lotito decides on changing coaches this summer, what would the fans reaction be if things didn’t go to plan and a new project fails? I for one am prepared to stay under Reja’s wing for now and stay on the fringes of the top three, rather than run the risk with a new coach.

(Ben Lally)
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