The camp in Auronzo di Cadore is reaching its end, and after two weeks of hard training today was very much focused on getting some of the injured players on the right track again. The list of injured, as well as fatigued, players is growing every day and here comes a short update on the physical status within the team:
Radu was back on the field after a few days absence due to issues with his left thigh, and will be awaiting further tests on Monday in order to avoid a longer period of injury. As things look now Stefan will not be participating in the next friendly but rather work on getting back to full fitness before Friuggi.
Mauri and Foggia were both left out of training due to fatigued muscles, but the two midfielders are both feeling better and will be available tomorrow.
Same goes for the Brazilian Dias, who after the many days of training is feeling a rest is deserved, and sat the major chunks of the training session out due to a calf muscle strain.
New signings Lulic and Konko are both having physical issues since the game against Luzern FC and the former will be visiting Paideia after lunch on Monday, while the latter is set to rest to get back on track. Last, but not least, Makinwa is having continuous problems with his knees.
The team is preparing for the final friendly that will be held in Cadore with fitness training in the morning and some practice with the ball later on. Coach Edy Reja took the opportunity to talk to fans and media today, and continued praising his Lazio and underlined how lethal this team could be in attack. Many have been curious on how Lazio will solve the situation of having scheduled two friendlies on the same day (but in two different countries!), and the coach explained: “I will divide this Lazio into two parts from the 31 July. This day we play Reggina in Friuggi, and Villarreal later that evening in Spain. From August 1st we will be back in Formello, and there I can divide and manage the squad into two without any problems. In Auronzo this has been hard to do. We need to do everything to get the players ready for the Europa League game on the 18th of August. I will use two separate teams against Aris and Cluj as well, to let the players get sufficient playing time in the games. Everything in order to get everyone ready for the season.”
Then Reja commented on the transfers so far and what to expect from the team. He stated how happy he is with Claudio Lotito having listened to his directions for the transfer this summer, and stressed the fact that there is little time to build a group from the start, but that it has been an objective of completing last year’s team with the appropriate players. Instead of going for younger alternatives, Lazio has focused on matured players this year and Reja has a philosophy for why: “With young players you have to wait and be patient over when the squad will reach its true potential. This time we wanted quicker results; hence we brought in matured players. With quality players such as Mauri, Hernanes and others in the team already we needed to add what was missing last year as we did have many chances to secure that fourth spot but eventually missed out. But we have to be cautious, a team needs to be balanced and this is the largest task for me. For a team to be at its best a coach needs to take advantage of the strengths and make sure all players in the locker room are happy. We have great characters in the team. You only speak of Zarate. Zarate is a great player and a great character, and for now he remains with us and he is an important player for us. At the moment we have too many attackers in the team though, and right now I have no idea of who will stay and who will leave.”
Ultimately, the question of Europa League and going for the Scudetto was brought up by the journalists. Reja assured that with the players at his hands this Lazio will take the European competition seriously, as they will with the domestic league and cup. Since the schedule of games will be very packed this year, Reja stated he will have to rotate the squad quite a bit and four-five players will be changed between every game.
Tomorrow is the last day of the first training camp of this season, and after having faced Slavia Prague the team will travel back to Rome for two days of well deserved rest before the Friuggi camp starts on 26 July.