Former Lazio and Roma defender Lionello Manfredonia discussed the Derby della Capitale and tonight’s meeting between the two sides in an interview with Italian media outlet La Lazio Siamo Noi earlier today.
Winning the derby is always fundamental in Rome, regardless of the league table. The teams are in a very good position, at the moment Roma are a little bit ahead, Lazio a little bit behind.
They’ve lost a little bit because of injuries. But they’re two teams in good shape. I expect a balanced game, although the derby is always a game in itself.
It can always be unbalanced depending on certain moments during the game.
The Italian, who began his career with Lazio before joining Juventus, commented on how he then moved onto joining Roma in the twilight of his career.
I never said I regretted going to play for Roma. It was a period in my career when I had to make a decision. At that moment I wanted to leave Turin, and there was the possibility of Roma.
The only thing I said was that I didn’t respect the feelings of the two fans, both Roma and Lazio. But I have absolutely no regrets about wearing the Roma shirt.
I enjoyed my time in both Roma and Lazio. I have many friends from Lazio and Roma.
Manfredonia discussed how strange tonight’s derby will be without any fans present inside the stadium, due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
I played in a Champions League quarter-final when I was at Juventus. We played against Verona behind closed doors. It was a match that was out of this world. Without a crowd there’s no emotion, no concentration.
I prefer to play with a big crowd, but there are players who suffer a bit from the fans or the pressure, so playing without spectators is an advantage for them. It’s a subjective thing, good for some but bad for others.
The 64-year-old Italian highlighted which players were likely to make the difference for either team in tonight’s match.
Usually in derbies the game is decided by the player that maybe nobody predicts. The derby in Rome is very popular with Roman players, and the players who are a bit out of touch with the Roman scene are more likely to be involved.
I think the challenge could be decided by a foreign player, both in Roma and Lazio there are many. Luis Alberto, for example, is a champion who can solve the game at any time.
Like Dzeko on the other side. There’s not one player I’d predict as the man for the derby.
Manfredonia returned to speaking about his Lazio squad in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s.
We won Serie B with coach Claguna, who was a great character. I always remember him and all my team-mates from that adventure with great affection.
It was a difficult season, but we finished in the top three and then we won Serie A again. It was Rome’s Scudetto-winning year. The two fans celebrated, we were promoted to Serie A and Roma won the Scudetto.
He moved onto discussing the current Lazio team under coach Simone Inzaghi.
They’re a proactive team, who attack with many players. They often find the goal, they would become even more competitive if they find a bit more balance at the back.
This is a strange league, we play every three days, there’s always the danger of Covid-19, of some players getting sick and losing fitness.
Lazio have been a bit affected by that too, losing a few points along the way. But I believe that with a full squad they can be at the top.
Finally, Manfredonia spoke about Lazio’s chances of qualifying for next season’s Champions League.
They can still get there, even if they have the Champions League to attend to, which is a big task. I think they can easily recover some positions in the table.