Saturday Dec 05, 2020  
  10/07/2011: Auronzo di Cadore: Day Four
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The summer heat is proving to be as stern a test as any at Auronzo right now and it has reached the stage where it is beginning to affect Lazio's preparations. The pitch needed to be watered today and thus the boys were found in the gym early this morning. When they did take to the field, the outfield players were split in two for a variety of conditioning exercises. Marchetti and Berardi trained between the goals but Bizzarri was taken aside with a small injury to his hand hampering his ability to train. In the evening, they would give him lighter equipment to work with.

In the afternoon, Stefano Mauri was the man on the microphone as a brief press conference was held for journalists, including those from Cittaceleste. All in all, he reiterated much of what has been said by the hierarchy in recent weeks:

"We are enthusiastic in the knowledge that we are a good team. Very good players have come in and they will help us out and improve the team. The company has done an excellent job, if anything, we are too many. It is up to us to work hard and show our worth on the field. These were important acquisitions who were targeted but we are stonger only on paper, we will see on the pitch if we have made the right buys."

When asked if Lazio were better prepared at this stage of pre-season than the likes of Napoli and Udinese, Mauri said that behind the two Milan sides, he felt everyone was on a similar level and only time will tell where everyone is in the pecking order.

Mauri clarified his rather confusing transfer status:

"I have always been clear, I renewed my contract last year, I am glad to be here, I never received any offers, whether or not people have come to Lotito and been rejected, I don't know."

Mauri was asked about his first impressions of Miroslav Klose:

"There is nothing in particular to say about him. You can tell by the way he is with the ball that he is a great player."

Mauri also welcomed competition in midfield:

"The competition can only be good, you are questioned daily to earn your place on the field. With Europe and the Italian Cup, nobody can physically play all the games. There is no form, Reja has not said anything and we have done nothing. We will see in the friendlies what system best suits the characteristics of this side."

Looking to the season, Mauri has set his sights on achieving even more success:

"Making Euro 2012 is a personal goal for me this year. I believe I was not called up recently as I missed the last few games of the league with suspension. We were a bit naive in certain circumstances last year, we deserved the Champions League spot but Udinese had a great championship. In future, we must finish the job sooner and not leave small margins. Against the smaller teams, we need a different mentality."

Asked about his aspirations in greater detail, Mauri said that what he hoped for more than anything was for a good sale of season tickets:

"I hope we sell a lot of season tickets. We need more people and the contribution of the public. We won many points at home last year and we want to win more. We need the fans to give us a hand."

Asked about the derby, Mauri assured fans that the desire is there to set the record straight:

"We have lost too many in a row, we must win them. In my opinion, we deserved victory in some derby. We must be more clinical and give more in terms of character."

In the evening session, the players were asked to train in sand briefly to help build up their muscles and were later participants in a game devised by coach Reja. Klose found it difficult to understand what was going on at first but with the help of others he found his way. The game focused on phases of play allowing Reja to introduce some tactical elements to a fitness-based exercise.

Bringing the evening session to a close was a very brief fifteen minute training match which admittedly featured interesting line-ups.

Team 1 was comprised of Marchetti, Lulic, Diakite', Stendardo, Scaloni, Matuzalem, Cana, Bresciano, Sculli, Zarate, Floccari.

Team 2 was comprised of Berardi, Radu, Biava, Dias, Konko, Ledesma, Brocchi, Mauri, Hernanes, Klose, Rocchi.

Interestingly, the two sides on paper look very much like the first team and their reserves with Team 2 looking suspiciously similar to what many fans perceive to be Lazio's best eleven. With Marchetti on the opposite side, it appears as though Reja wanted to face his number one up against his favoured charges.

The game ended 1-1 with Floccari putting Team 1 ahead before Mauri equalised at the death. Despite both sides getting on the scoresheet in a short period of time, both Marchetti and Berardi pulled off what has been described as miraculous saves. It was Zarate who got the greatest round of applause though as his link up play with Sculli, Bresciano and Cana gave the more established side food for thought.

(Cathal Mullan)
Ed 7/12/2011 5:16:07 PM
So Floccari has all the goals so far... doesn't that probably prove he shouldn't be sold to make way for a massive risk like Cisse? Rocchi AND Klose won't be our starting strikers, that's for sure.
Enzo 7/12/2011 5:16:01 PM
Any chance of more details in the exercise they are doing? ie. there was mention of a game that reja did it work?
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