There was no Day 11 at Auronzo di Cadore. Stefano Pioli, perhaps in knowledge of the severity of the training ahead, granted his players a day off. It was a great opportunity to explore the local landscape, or at least it would have been had it not rained like there was no tomorrow. The players therefore remained pretty close to the training base and many took the time to pose for photographs with the fans and sign autographs.
Joseph-Marie Minala and Mamadou Tounkara landed at the hotel and all eyes were set to fall on them on Day 12. It was Bruno Pereirinha, however, who stole the manager's attention when training commenced at 9.45am today. Pereirinha has impressed in pre-season training and added another goal to his tally against Indonesia U23s, and although we cannot ascertain what the conversation with the manager was about, we can hazard a guess that it was positive considering the manager patted the Portuguese winger on the back at the end of the brief talk.
Today's training revolved around breaking down the opposition, which is hardly a surprise given Lazio's struggles in breaking down Indonesia U23s. Pioli spent most of the morning coaching the same teams who played a half against the Indonesia U23s, and focusing predominantly on ball possession. In the last 20-30 minutes of the session, Pioli tested individual technique with a series of 2 v 2 and 3 v 2 games on reduced fields. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Keita was in his element there.
Both Berisha and Rozzi are carrying muscles strains and although Rozzi's is minor enough for him to have done some light work in the gym, Berisha sits out the morning session. Ederson continued to train alone while Tounkara only lasted 30 minutes of the morning session.
The evening session begins in the gym with the players taking to the field at 5pm. Tounkara is now back with the group, but trains separately with Emiliano Alfaro under the watchful eye of Davide Lucarelli. Berisha and Rozzi do some light work.
Pioli resumes work on offensive moves with a series of drills including deliveries into the box. About 20 minutes in, Milos Antic departs training and returns to the dressing room, presumably with an injury of some kind. Minala now assumes Antic's role in the drill.
Pioli proceeds to work on the two teams, as he did earlier in the morning. Tounkara is now given a chance to show what he can do and takes up the prima punta role, taking Cavanda's place and allowing Keita to continue on the left. Pioli asks one team to initiate the attack while the other team is tasked with completing a successful offside trap.
Then something interesting happens; Pioli switches the system for both teams from 4-3-3 to 4-4-2 and continues the exercise. Pereirinha, Mauri, Vinicius and Felipe Anderson become wingers while Djordjevic and Oikonomidis and Keita and Tounkara form strike partnerships.
Finally, we have the inter-team game and the sides were as follows;
4-4-2: Marchetti; Basta, Cana, Filippini, Radu; Felipe Anderson, Cataldi, Ledesma, Vinicius; Djordjevic, Oikonomidis.
4-4-2: Strakosha; Konko, Novaretti, Ciani, Braafheid; Pereirinha, Minala, Elez, Mauri; Tounkara, Keita.
The game is quite heated and in the first half, Radu and Tounkara end up having a brief dispute as Radu is enraged with Tounkara's physical play and makes his opinion known. This overshadows a decent goal from Elez who wins possession in the midfield and continues his run firing past Strakosha.
The second half is scoreless and the game ends 1-0. Cavanda was brought off the bench for a few minutes cutting Basta's session short and Guerrieri also got a few minutes in Strakosha's place. A hierarchy is being established and it is clear there is no place for Cavanda in this Lazio team at the moment while Strakosha looks to be getting the nod for third choice goalkeeper over Guerrieri.
Tounkara offered an apology to Radu at the end of the game and the two players shook hands.