Antonio Candreva pulls no punches when he reveals his ambition for this season is to help Lazio into the UEFA Champions League.
The Biancocelesti finished just above halfway in the Serie A standings last term, before Edy Reja resigned from his second spell as head coach of the first team. Stefano Pioli was recruited as the 69-year-old’s successor, and the former Bologna boss, who was dismissed by I Rossoblu in January, has made an impressive start to his new position in the Italian capital.
Lazio currently stand fifth in the league table, just one point behind third-place Udinese. And speaking ahead of the trip to the Stadio Marc’Antonio Bentegodi on Thursday evening, when they will take on a Verona side which has one just one match all season and none in front of their home supporters, Candreva has made no secret of what he feels he and his team-mates are capable of.
“With our feet still on the ground, I’ll say it – we want to achieve third place this year,” the midfielder told Il Messaggero. “Scudetto is a great word, but there are a lot of teams like Lazio who are still missing something needed compete with Juventus and Roma. The leap we have to make isn’t a big one, but the gap is still there. This year we want to win all the time. We’ll give anyone a game.”
Lazio have won five of their eight league matches so far, a number bettered only by their city rivals Roma (six) and the reigning champions and current leaders Juventus (seven). Pioli’s team have yet to play either of the top-two, but face the Bianconeri on 23 November at home (Week 12), whilst the first Derby della Capitale takes part in Week 18 on 11 January.
Is there any reason why Lazio can’t qualify for the Champions League this season? Let us know how you rate their chances by joining in the discussion below.