S.S. Lazio captain Luciano Zauri says his side are a "little emotional" prior to facing Real Madrid CF but insists they can get the win they need to advance.
Article top media content
Luciano Zauri exuded calm ahead of S.S. Lazio's tussle with Real Madrid CF for a place in the knockout phase of the UEFA Champions League. "We haven't come here as tourists," the defender stated. "We're a solid unit and we can win."
And win Lazio must, ideally by two goals if they are to make sure of progressing from Group C. The Roman club are bottom of the standings but just three points behind leaders Madrid. "We know Real Madrid have a great team and that it's going to be difficult to get a win here but we're concentrated on playing a very important game of football and we hope to to advance to the next stage," the 29-year-old said.
Quality all round
Asked if there was a particular player Lazio coach Delio Rossi has warned his team to focus on, Zauri insisted that were too many to name. "Madrid have a lot of classy players, especially in attack," he said. "Offensively they are so good they can decide a game with one quick movement. We face an opponent so full of quality that, frankly, it's going to be difficult to overcome them. But we're here to make things complicated for Madrid and I'm confident our team will advance to the next round."
The last time the sides met in October the game ended in a 2-2 draw at Stadio Olimpico and Zauri feels there were positives from that encounter he would like to see repeated at the Santiago Bernabéu. "When we played them at home we played well but we had our bad points too. I hope we can repeat the positive aspects in the game when we pressurised them to the point that they didn't feel comfortable on the ball."
An opportunity to qualify from their group against the nine-time winners of club football's most famous trophy has had a powerful affect on Zauri and his team-mates. "We're all a little emotional. The truth is the stadium here is incredible and it's something that has had an impact on us. But we hope that on the night of the game things will be different and we'll be completely focused. There'll certainly be pressure but we're used to these kind of situations. In a game like the Rome derby the tension isn't any less so I hope the atmosphere in Madrid won't affect us."