Manuel Lazzari discussed the open nature of Lazio’s decisive Champions League clash with Atletico Madrid, highlighting how both teams ‘have clear heads’ before the match.
Both teams have already qualified for the Round of 16 of Europe’s premier club competition and are now battling it out for the top spot in Group E. Maurizio Sarri’s side sit one point behind the Spaniards, leaving everything open for their head-to-head clash in Madrid.
Lazio had started to put together a decent run of results, winning three consecutive matches against Celtic, Cagliari and Genoa, but their 1-1 draw with Hellas Verona on the weekend showed the team’s continued inconsistency.
Speaking to Sport Mediaset (via TMW), Lazzari first highlighted Lazio’s mental clarity ahead of their match with Atletico.
We’re two teams who’ve qualified for the Round of 16, we both have very clear heads. We are here to fight for first place, because we know that coming first or second changes a lot in the draw.
The 30-year-old gave his expectations for the European encounter in Madrid.
It will be a very complicated match. Atletico are a physical and technical team, they have achieved many consecutive results at home. We know it will be a complicated match, but we will play it.
He reflected on the team’s work in the Champions League this season.
We started with Provedel’s goal in injury time, which gave us that extra boost. Now we arrive with game day to go, and we’ve already qualified and are playing for first place.
We’re just a point behind, we’ll play with open eyes and a free mind. We hope to keep the game open until the end.
Finally, Lazzari spoke about the qualities of Atletico and the dangers Lazio face.
We face a really strong team in all departments. Up front they have Griezmann, Morata, Depay and Correa. Whoever plays plays, they are great players, we have to stay focused until the last minute and try to give them as little as possible.