Lazio boss Simone Inzaghi has called on his third-placed team to produce a “perfect” performance at AC Milan in order to continue their unbeaten Serie A run on Sunday.
The Eternal City club head into the match on a six-game unbeaten streak in the league – including four wins – and 15 points ahead of their hosts, but Inzaghi is not taking the Rossoneri lightly.
“We know what will await us at the San Siro,” he said at his pre-match press conference, quoted on the club’s website.
“We will have to face Milan in the best way. We will find a team that are producing excellent results and that are starting to know what the new coach (Gennaro Gattuso) wants. We will have to pay close attention to be competitive.
“We will have to be hungry because to win (we) will need a strong performance. We have managed to produce some great matches in the past two years. (On Sunday) we will need a perfect match.”
Ecuador forward Felipe Caicedo is not fully fit and Italy striker Ciro Immobile – top scorer in the league so far this season – is doubtful after limping off against Chievo last weekend with a muscular injury.
“Ciro Immobile is improving, but to date has not been ready,” Inzaghi said. “We could risk him but, given the many commitments that await us, we are consulting with the medical staff and the player.”
Lazio were 4-1 winners in Rome when the teams met for the first time this term in September – two months before Gennaro Gattuso stepped up from leading the youth team to replace Vincenzo Montella in the hot-seat.
Milan have a mountain to climb if they want to claw their way into Champions League contention after a season of struggle, which included a humiliating draw against lowly Benevento in December.
But the Rossoneri have won their two league matches in 2018, and Gattuso is confident his team have had a good build-up to Sunday and will do themselves proud.
“It will (need) a great performance because it will be a difficult game, but I think we will play a great game,” Gattuso said at his pre-match press conference, quoted on acmilan.com. “We have a duty to exploit the (home advantage).
“Lazio combine physical strength with good technique. They are very dangerous. We are in a good moment, but it is not enough – we have to raise the bar. To be able to get a positive result will require a perfect tactical display.
“All the good things you are seeing are the result of the daily work and the great attitudes of the youngsters. The team’s improvements are largely down to them.
“The players know we have not beaten the top six in the standings (this season). We’ll see what happens (on Sunday). I think I have prepared well for this game. What happens on the pitch will speak for itself.”
The teams meet again on Wednesday, at the same venue, in the first leg of their Coppa Italia semi-final.