Wednesday Apr 25, 2018  
  23/08/2014: Pioli: "Now we can make Europe"
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Stefano Pioli has been very straight and honest about what Lazio fans can expect from him and his team, not only on Sunday, but over the coming season:

"I am satisfied with our preparation. It was important to lay the foundations for this journey. It ends today, we will see what we can do tomorrow. I am satisfied with the team, who have important technical and moral values who have been functional, coming to understand my way of football and what was missing from the team."

"I think now we can make Europe."

"We have different characteristics in midfield, which I like. Flexibility, and players who can play together. I need dynamic players, especially for our outside attackers who need deliveries. We have both types, players who can attack and defend. We must have a balanced midfield department in the field. I do not think that only Ledesma can give shape to this team."

"First impressions [of Gentiletti] are positive, but not conclusive as there have only been a few workouts. We were looking for a left-sided defender who can lead the defence, and one who speaks often. That is important. He has different characteristics to other players in the roster."

"I agreed with the club that I would take a month to make assessments, as the market is long. Now we should prune the rose, we are many and I do not want anyone to be penalised. We only have two competitions. The players who are involved [in possible transfers] know that there will be some transfers."

"I've made my choices, the goalkeeper has a special role. The boys will know in the training session on the day of the game. Tomorrow, you know who you can choose from. Tomorrow, I field the best squad for the game. It is the first official game, we want to well and I want to see the fruits of our summer labour."

"It is difficult to know where we are at, what we know is that it is August. The team understand the rules and principles of the game. I think we have reached a good technical condition, tactically, mentally, physically. Tomorrow, I want confirmation."

Asked about Gonzalez and Onazi's availability, Pioli made it clear that he is ultimately not responsible for who stays and goes at Lazio but has confirmed that he gave the club his opinion on the matter. Pioli expressed his satisfaction with Djordjevic and did not rule out playing Klose and Djordjevic together in future, revealing that he is open to all solutions.

When asked where Lazio can improve, Pioli chose to focus on the work that the current group have put in. He did not rule out the possibility of qualifying for the Champions League, saying that his team have a winning mentality and that in a 100m sprint, runners don't give up after 80m so Lazio will play to win every game, one at a time and see where they end up.

Pioli confirmed that Biglia and Ledesma are competing for the one spot at present, although that could change in the future. The manager says he has seen real leadership in the team, and that there is good depth and good people among the team. He says that this team must suffer and then celebrate, as ultimately the team will suffer more if they are not prepared to suffer.

Finally, Pioli says he undoubtedly wants Candreva to stay and has no concerns about negotiations between the company and the player. He said he is happy with the player's focus, motivation and form.

Author: Cathal Mullan
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