In less than 48 hours Lazio take on Fiorentina in Florence after a two international break in potentially the match of the round in Serie A. Both sides looked impressive in their last two matches before the break with Lazio coming out as victors against Sassulo, while Fiorentina dismantled Inter 3-0. How much of an input can you give to the team following your injury?
Fan favourite Alvaro Gonzalez is returning from injury and spoke to Lazio Style Channel ahead of the important game;
"I believe I can give a lot and I want to get back to my best and to be ready to fight. It is not easy coming back from injury, I just have to work hard and find the rhythm of the game quickly. I am glad because now I am ready to give my contribution to my teammates".
Are you one of those players that makes’ his way into the box often from the wide areas?
"With our coach and the style of play he demands from us it is easy to find situations and opportunities to score goals. I think it is also important to have the athleticism needed to do the job well defensively and create the numerical superiority in the penalty area, which is also what the coach asks of us".
Even last year the central midfield area looked very strong with yourself, Ledesma and Biglia in the squad….
"Yes, we have so many quality players in the whole squad and also in midfield, so we have to try to embarrass the coach and make his decisions difficult. There will be three players chosen in the central midfield department and off course I hope to be chosen as one of them. I want to find myself playing as many minutes as necessary to maintain the highest level".
After two consecutive victories against Palermo and Sassuolo you have arrived at an important crossroads. How will the team deal with this challenge?
"The team is getting better. We come to Florence with two straight wins. We will have to avoid the mistakes of the past against Fiorentina and play very well against a direct European competitor, just like we did last year with that beautiful goal of Cana to take the full 3 points away from them. I think again on Sunday we will have to keep the same attitude because they are a strong team that will fight for us all the way this season".
Fiorentina is a team that has one of the best defenses in Serie A this season having only conceded 3 goals in 6 matches. It will not be an easy game ...
"They are a team that we have analyzed well these last few days. We know how we have to play. They have some tall players so it will be important for us to move the ball around quickly. They do a great job defensively so we have to be good at exploiting the space and capitalize on all our opportunities as they will be very tight".
Do you feel that third place is a feasible goal?
"We have a great squad with a lot of quality. There are many teams who have not yet found the right continuity, like Milan or Fiorentina, so it is important we continue to do well early on in the season to build momentum and not let others lock in the top positions. We will think things through game by game and we must exploit the fact that we are not playing in Europe this season".
In this regard, do you missing the chance of playing Europe football?
"Personally I really miss the midweek matches and the opportunity to meet with European teams. But we will try to do better this season and take the opportunity to be able to play Sunday after Sunday to make sure we come back strong in Europe for next season".
Where do you think the squad needs to improve ?
"In football, there is always room for growth. We need to find consistency more regularly. Winning in Florence would be big for us, it would give us more confidence in ourselves and we can then look to build some positive momentum".
What do you expect from this season?
"I must try first of all to be 100% fit and ready to earn the jersey. It will definitely be tough as every year I usually start the season as second choice but I am a fighter and never give up. I always give my fullest contribution to the team".
What in Fiorentina's style of play are you most worried about?
"They have very strong players and we know this. One in particular is Cuadrado who I recently played against in the World Cup knockout stages. We will have to double up on him and always be careful with his play, avoiding the one on one situation otherwise he will have an easy day. He is very important to his sides play so we need to contain him well, but also stop their other threats".