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Petkovic wants Lazio switched on

Lazio coach Vladimir Petkovic has warned his players against complacency ahead of their Europa League meeting with Stuttgart on Thursday.

Petkovic’s side take a 2-0 lead into the second leg of the round-of-16 tie after a win in Germany a week ago, but the coach believes they must go into the match in a positive frame of mind.

“We need to go onto the pitch without thinking too much about the first leg,” Petkovic said.

“We need to face the game as if it was the only one for the qualification and win it without underrating its importance.

“We saw yesterday with Milan that anything can happen, even a 2-0 win can mean nothing in the second leg.”

Further complicating matters is the fact that the match at Rome’s Olympic Stadium will be played behind closed doors, because of racist chants from sections of the Lazio support in European games against Borussia Moenchengladbach, Tottenham and Maribor.

Petkovic said the lack of atmosphere could prove challenging.

“Playing in an empty stadium is something new for me too,” he said.

“I think we need to remain focused for the whole game and not change as if it was a friendly game, that’s the greatest risk.

“We need to remain focused and support ourselves for the 90 minutes of play.

“I’m focused on tomorrow’s game, we will try and honour it with a victory and try to qualify and then we will see.

“Very important teams will remain in the competition, but none is unbeatable, as we’ve seen up to now. Our aim is to get as far as we can.”

Wed 13 March, 2013
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