Wednesday Apr 25, 2018  
  05/08/2012: Fiuggi: Day Five
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Last night, Lazio took on Galatasaray in Turkey and succumbed to yet another defeat as Johan Elmander gave the hosts a welcome boost ahead of their upcoming campaign.

There is no shame in losing to Galatasaray - a side who are champions of their league, are in the Champions League, who arguably have a better squad than us, who were playing on home soil and who are in better shape than us as their pre-season commenced earlier. However, the manner of defeat in light of similar losses to Siena and Torino is concerning, especially as Vladimir Petkovic fielded what was essentially the best eleven he had available to him.

The one area that has been subject to speculation all summer is the left-back positions. Stefan Radu is out with a knee injury and will not be match fit before the start of the season. With that in mind, the club are apparently on the market for a new left-back, which suggests either that Javier Garrido will leave the capital or that Radu will be moved to his favoured centre-back role.

In the meantime, Petkovic has been testing an alternative - Senad Lulic. He did well last night but in the second half, we saw another experiment as Abdoulaye Konko switched from his right-back position to the left side and he also did well. Petkovic will surely be encouraged by their displays.

What he will stress about is the centre-backs. Diakite' is most likely a starter under Petkovic but since he is being eased back into action after suffering a severely bruised leg a few weeks ago, the Bosnian manager had no choice but to field a Biava and Dias pairing. At one time, it was the reliable selection but having conceded an 'avoidable' goal last night (Petkovic's word), there is surely cause for yet more concern.

In his interview after the game, Petkovic acknowledged that hte 4-2-3-1 was the best system from the players he had available to him. Ledesma and Cana anchored the midfield while Mauri, Candreva and Hernanes were the suppliers for the lone Sergio Floccari. In the current system, it appears as though Floccari is Miroslav Klose's stand-in while Zarate may not be fully trusted in the system although Petkovic may be waiting until Klose is in better shape before testing their partnership. Hernanes was toothless in his more familiar role, a fact that many journalists picked up on while the clever Mauri and pacy Candreva couldn't do a whole lot better. Zarate did look livelier once introduced for the Brazilian but even he couldn't make the difference.

Petkovic is optimistic though. He noted that the attack needs to take their chances and that the defence needs to cut out the errors - an obvious observation given the scoreline and the nature of the game, but it did take a lapse in concentration for Johan Elmander to make the difference (Candreva had been brought down in the penalty box and Galatasaray scored from the counter as the Lazio players looked for a decision in their favour).

Petkovic's glass is half full - many will see it as half empty.

(Cathal Mullan)

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