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Reja eyes big step forward

Lazio manager Edoardo Reja hopes to go one better than last campaign and qualify his side for next season’s Champions League.

The Serie A outfit finished fifth last season, missing out on Champions League qualification by a place. But they lie fourth in the league this term and – importantly – are six points clear of fifth-placed Inter Milan.

“Our wish is to close the season as well as last season, but with a better position on the table,” said Reja, whose side are still alive in the Europa League knockout stages.

“You know very well we would like to reach the Champions League, it will be a dream and the coronation of our consistent growth since I’ve been here.”

Lazio host Chievo Verona on Wednesday in their final game of 2011, an opponent Reja has a lot of admiration for.

“You already know Chievo’s value and it seems to me they played with even more intensity in the last two matches. They’re good at closing down in defence, they have good qualities in midfield, they’re organised,” he said.

“(Chievo manager) Domenico Di Carlo is very good from a tactical point of view, he’s good in making them closing down all the spaces. I saw them playing against Udinese (Chievo lost 2-1), they gave them great difficulties in the first half.”

“If we manage to play with the rhythm and the intensity we had against Udinese (2-2 draw), in the second half in particular, we can win the match. Our task is to use this last match before the break and reach top positions. It’s very important for us to get a good result.”

Tue 20 December, 2011
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