Reja determined to halt Inter charge
Published : 16 Jan 2012 18:46:32
Lazio coach Edy Reja is undaunted by the task facing his team as they bid to qualify for the Champions League for the first time in five years.
The Roman side are fourth in Serie A and just two points behind Udinese in third, the final Champions League qualifying place.
However, many believe their biggest challenge is going to come from behind rather than ahead as Inter Milan charge rapidly up the table.
A couple of months ago Inter appeared to be out of both the title and Champions League running but a sequence of eight wins in their last nine matches has put the nerazzurri right back in the thick of things.
They are now just a point behind Lazio and host the biancoceleste this coming weekend.
Defeat for Lazio would see them facing an even greater challenge in the uphill task facing them.
But Reja is confident his side have what it takes to hold off Claudio Ranieri's in-form team.
"We'll go to Milan 100 percent looking to get a result," he told a local Lazio supporters radio station.
"(On Sunday) Inter played a great match, they're strong from both a physical and psychological point of view."
Reja doesn't just have Inter's barn-storming form to contend with but he must also try to get fans to forget the horror show just over a week ago when Lazio crashed 4-0 at Siena.
Reja was jeered before the 2-0 win over Atalanta on Sunday but claims he can understand why.
"After the winter break it can happen that you have a black-out because you're not used to certain intensity," he said.
"We hope the cooling off we had is over.
"I didn't hear (the jeers) as I was in the changing rooms but how can you applaud a coach after the performance at Siena?"
Lazio are a point behind the number they had at the same stage last season -- when they finished fifth -- and Reja believes that shows they are on the right path.
"When you can add consistency to what you've already done it means that you're improving," he said.
"It's not easy to repeat what we did last year and if you look at the fixtures we've got a difficult run, not just in the league but also in the Cup and Europa League.
"If we don't get some players back (from injury) it will become difficult."