Thursday Jul 29, 2021  
  13/07/2012: Petkovic: "First priority...defense"
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"These days I read many things, but you will have time to get to know me. The most important thing is what the players have already done. We set different goals and for me it is very important not to overdo it and take everything step by step. We are working in terms of technical-tactical, looking not to make the training monotonous and hence increase the desire and the pleasure of playing football. This first phase has gone well, we collected various data that allow us to measure the team and individual players. One thing for me which is really important is feedback with players and staff to compare and confirm what has been done up to this moment."

 Many journalists have been trying to guess which system and tactics Lazio are likely to use next season, Petkovic commented: I have some important tactical principles and this is the first day that I'm trying to insert, to educate, to convince the players that only after using these principles we can play in any way. No matter the form, the important thing is that there is stability and that every defensive player knows what to do and what his companion will do. In this first week we worked on aerobic capacity, prevention of injuries, coordination and stretching. In the second we will increase the load and start the tactical work."

There is alot of curiosity on how Petkovic will use Ederson and Hernanes: " The boys know they do not have to look too deep or at the position they play in these first games. I want to try players in different positions, it can benefit us for the season. After 3 weeks we will begin to put players in tactical function, now they are just experiments. We are trying to improve the quality that is not only technical, but also tactical and management. Lazio should be able to play aggressively, compact and above all as a team. We must try to always be close to the opponent."

One of the key aspects Petkovic is trying to bring Lazio is the notion of the collective rather than the individual. When asked about Zarate Petkovic added: "For me he is important to the group. Mauro is part of this group that works together in the same direction. I will not even think of things that I heard in either a positive or negative way, I can only say that Zarate has worked well as everyone else has. I have not told the leadership of someone I like or not like, I try to evaluate each player to understand his utilities within the group."

Petkovic was also asked about Lulic and Mauri: "Early last year he (Lulic) had a bit of trouble. After he also had an injury, but overall he played a good season. But I am convinced that he can make a further leap. I know he gives everything for the team. Where will I use him? Let's see.Up from midfield, but he is a wildcard on both sides. He can also be used as a fullback. Let him work and then compare him with all the others and we will see where to play him. Mauri? The first practice I went to talk to him. There was nothing to explain or to say. I do not even see a little doubt on his part."

Matuzalem has been AWOL since the players came back as he has not even left Brazil yet. Petkovic gave his opinion: "I will not talk too much about individual players. All are very important and Matuzalem would also have been. He was planned as a part of our workforce, and knowing his quality I was sorry he did not come with us. However, while all are important, no one is indispensable. What has happened is beyond my control. Along with the company we will see how to continue."

Finally Petkovic was asked about the transfer market and in particular Palermo defender Balzaretti: "Every day we talk about these things with the staff and the director. It is not decision made in a minute, a project must be designed with intelligence. He (Balzaretti) has proved he can play on both the left and right. He has been confirmed as one of the best wingers in Italy."

(Giannino Capaldi)
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