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S.S. Lazio - I Biancocelesti

Started on 14 June 2014 by Coxy
Latest Reply on 19 August 2014 by Coxy
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9 yearsEdited

Cox: "Lazio Not Here To Make Up The Numbers..."

22nd August 2014
The group stage draw was conducted today at the UEFA headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland.

Lazio manager Matt Cox believes that qualification out of his team's Champions League group is 'do-able' and that his team will play to win.

Serie A champions Lazio were a 4th seed going into the group stage draw today so many fans were expecting the worst as they waited to hear the news of who the Rome based team would be playing in their first Champions League appearance since 2006; with a possible group of Real Madrid, Paris Saint Germain and Liverpool potentially waiting for one unlucky bottom seeded side.
However the Biancocelesti's task is still a challenging one as they were drawn with Schalke (GER), Olympique Lyonnais (FRA) and FC Basel (SWI). Schalke and Lyon took part in last years Champions League group stage but both finished 3rd in their groups. FC Basel however will be a familiar foe as Cox's men played them twice in the group stage of the Europa League last season, (a group which Lazio topped comfortably knocking off Basel 3-0 in the process).

When interviewed by Sky Italia, Cox was confident of progressing to the knockout stages, but wary of his opponents: "It's a do-able job. Aslong as we play with the intensity that we have over the last 12 months then we will be in the next round. They are three very good teams and are all sides that are Champions League regulars. However our advantage is that they are teams that never really make a splash in the competition. My team are not here to make up the numbers."

This is Lazio's first appearance in the competition since the 2006/07 season, however on that occasion the blue side of Rome finished bottom of the group and were eliminated with 5 points. Lazio's best ever run in the Champions League came in 1999 when they reached the quarter finals but were eliminated by Valencia, losing 5-3 on aggregate. Cox said that topping the group is a realistic target: "I think we showed that we can compete with anybody we come up against last season and we started this year with a good win over Juventus. Despite being the bottom seeded team, I think that we might be people's favourites to win this group."

Cox finished by telling the media that he was happy to avoid the bigger teams at this stage and that a quarter final place this time around would be a great achievement: "Even without teams like Arsenal and Man United this is a very strong tournament and there are some horrible groups so we are lucky. If we were drawn with Real Madrid and PSG then the intensity of the games over a short month are to much of a new experience and we would suffer in the league. It's a new experience for a lot of these players so a quarter final would be something I'd be happy with. However I know and the lads though that if you're not here to win it then don't bother coming."

Champions League Group Stage Draw

Group A
Tottenham Hotspur
Bayer Leverkusen

Group B
Manchester City
FC Kobenhavn

Group C
Olympique Lyonnais
FC Basel

Group D
Atletico Madrid
Sporting Club Portugal
Club Brugge

Group E
Real Madrid
Bate Borisov

Group F
Shakhtar Donetsk
FC Red Bull Salzburg

Group G
FC Bayern Munich
Liverpool FC
Sparta Prague

Group H
FC Porto
Borussia Dortmund

The opening round of games will get underway on Tuesday 16th September as the teams make their journey to Berlin, Germany with Barcelona looking to defend their crown at the Olymiastadion on May 30th next year.
Thank you for your answer on Klose's performances explanation... Great story by the way, graphics and all! Maybe we could have more information about tactics and starting XI? Just what I suggest to make it even better and to feel even more involved into it! :)
Definitely not the easiest group there, but I'm backing you and Schalke to go through ;) good luck mate
Semi-tough group but you can definitely make it out, good luck! :)
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9 yearsEdited

Cox Shuffles Staff As New Season Approaches

Former Manchester City coach David Platt has joined the Lazio backroom staff.

Lazio manager Matt Cox has recruited a number of new staff members going into the new Serie A season. Former Juventus and Sampdoria midfielder David Platt has joined Cox's coaching team in a move that will mean the 62 times capped England player will share the responsibilities of attacking coaching with Argentina legend Gabriel Batistuta. Platt who has regularly worked with Roberto Mancini; a close friend of Cox's, was expected to follow the Italian to his new club Bayern Munich, but will ply his trade in Rome for the foreseeable future.

Another key move has seen the Biancocelesti appoint 3 new staff members to the club's scouting network. Former Inter Milan manager Andrea Stramaccioni joins a on 4 year deal and will be in charge of the clubs Italian network. Canadian born Italian Carlo Corazzin has signed on a 5 year contract from Chicago Fire where he was also a scout. 42 year old Corazzin will focus his efforts on the USA, Canada and Mexico as the club's first ever North American specific scout.

Meanwhile Director of Football Igli Tare has agreed to become a scout for the Eastern European region, with Cox hiring former Republic of Ireland assistant Marco Tardelli taking over Tare's previous position. Cox made clear that when he joined the club that he will have the final say over the DoF's position, unlike many other clubs. The 81 times capped Azzurri midfielder has experience as a Director of Football as he held the post with Juventus for a year in 2006. Tardelli also has managerial experience with Inter Milan, Bari and the Egyptian national team.

The final newcomer in the Lazio ranks is 52 year old Beniamino Abate who has signed from AC Milan on a 5 year deal. Beniamino, father of Lazio player Ignazio Abate will become the club's under 19 team goalkeeper coach; but will also work with the Reserves squad. Abate, like his son is previously of AC Milan and has held the goalkeeping coach position there since 2004.
nice staff signing!
Nice to see some staff signings there! Looking good :)
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9 yearsEdited

Champions Lazio Pick Up Where They Left Off Last Season

Returning World Cup winner Miroslav Klose looked deadly as he bagged a brace against Udinese on the opening day of the season.

August Results

Klose (22, 31)
Astori (66)
Muriel (81)
Pinzi (33)
A. Cole (36)

On the opening day of the 2014/15 Serie A season, we welcomed Udinese to the Stadio Olimpico; who were looking to put last year's disappointment of finishing 15th place behind them.

Manager Francesco Guidolin had failed to bring in any fresh new talent over the summer as his team lacked any cutting edge, as last season's main playmaker Roberto Pereyra had joined Juventus a few weeks before. World Cup winner Miroslav Klose looked as dangerous as ever as he fired us into a lead 22 minutes in. The 36 year old was playing like a teenager as ten minutes later he thumped in a header after good work from Tom Ince gave the German the easiest of goals.

Things got worse for Udinese as skipper Giampiero Pinzi was sent off for a stamp on PSG loanee Marco Verratti on 33 minutes. However new Lazio captain Ashley Cole responded with an act of stupidity three minutes later as the former Chelsea fullback recieved his marching orders as he clattered into Gabriel Torje with a two footed tackle from behind.

With the game being played 10 vs 10 the match calmed down after the half time break. Lazio extended their lead as Candreva and Abate worked a clever corner routine, with the latter playing a pinpoint ball onto Davide Astori's head to put the game beyond doubt, despite Luis Muriel hitting a consolation goal 9 minutes from time.

VERONA 0-2 LAZIO (Serie A)
Klose (39)
Ince (67)
Donati (58)

With 3 points under the belt, we switched our focus to Hellas Verona who achieved a comfortable 11th placed finish despite being touted as relegation candidates. Andrea Mandorlini's team tied with recently promoted Livorno in their opening game of the season but showed no sign of stopping us as we created a handful of clear chances in the opening 15 minutes. Ince set up Klose for his customary goal 5 minutes before halftime to send us in to the changing rooms the happier team.

After the break Verona tried to play a physical game in order to kill our quick attacking style. This lead to former Celtic player Massimo Donati being shown a straight red for a body check from behind on Thiago Motta. With Verona a man down we started to turn the screw and search for a 2nd goal. It eventually came when Ignazio Abate picked up his 2nd assist of the season by playing a sweeping, cross-field pass into the path of Tom Ince, who swept the ball past Verona keeper Nikolay Mihaylov with a first time volley.

Player Of The Month

German Legend: Miroslav Klose

What a year this man has had. He has won Serie A, the Italian Cup, the Italian Super Cup, the World Cup and become the all time leading goal scorer for his country. Now at the far end of 36 years old, he is still doing the business for the team and scoring important goals.

Klose has played 3 competitive games and scored 4 goals in August, including the winner against Juventus in the SuperCoppa Italia. He has been able to keep new signing Sebastian Giovinco out of the side so far and has been in flawless form. However he has seemed to fatigue quicker than last year; which is something I will keep an eye on.

The Month Ahead

After a gruelling pre-season full of travelling and fitness, we managed to win the SuperCoppa Italia and begin our Serie A campaign as we finished our last. However the month of September will be an even bigger test for us as we play 5 games after a 2 week break that starts now. Our first game sees us welcome AC Milan, who currently sit top with 9 points having played a game more; to the Stadio Olimpico.

Following their visit, we play our first Champions League match for 8 years as Olympique Lyonnais come to Rome to open the group stage proceedings. 4 days later, we travel to Turin to take on Arsene Wenger's Juventus who have also played 2 games and collected 6 points, scoring 8 goals along the way.

Following on from the three huge games, we play Parma in Rome, followed by a trip to Cagliari to end the month.
great month MCox, Klose is an absolute legend
Truly awesome to see Miroslav Klose still firing at age 36, one of my favorite strikers of all time and surely one of the world's best :D

Inconsistency The Issue For Cox's Lazio

Miroslav Klose proved himself a pain in AC Milan's behind again as he scored his 3rd goal in three games against the Rossoneri under Matt Cox

September Results

LAZIO 3-1 AC MILAN (Serie A)
Klose (27)
Motta (58)
Alvarez Balanta (85)
Balotelli (89)

Ince (7, 15, 77)
Giovinco (18, 26, 69)
Ghezzal (64)
Motta (85)

Llorente (72)

LAZIO 4-0 PARMA (Serie A)
A. Cole (15)
Astori (50)
Klose (63)
Bellusci (86)

Adryan (7, 67)
Candreva (83)

It was a month of inconsistency as we fell to two defeats in five games. Our loss to Juventus was not to disappointing, but I am not happy about the manner in which we lost the game as we were dominated all over the park by Arsene Wenger's team. The loss to Cagliari was painful as we dominated the game but couldn't find our way past a stubborn defence more than once, and in the end we paid for it. Cagliari have been taken over by former Italy manager Cesare Prandelli following his resignation from the National team and sit in 5th place in Serie A.

Despite the negatives, the wins over AC Milan and Lyon were top quality performances. Tom Ince and Miroslav Klose were in blistering form, whilst Sebastian Giovinco made a strong case for a starting spot in the future with his hat-trick against OL.

My main concern is last season's 30 goal man and Serie A Player of the Year, Antonio Candreva. His performances have been great as he has 5 assists in 6 games, however he is not the scoring threat he was last year as he only has a solitary goal at this point in the campaign. Hopefully his strike against Cagliari will help him rediscover his potent goalscoring touch.

Player Of The Month

Captain's Month: Ashley Cole.

It was hard to pick a stand-out player during September. Klose in his usual reliable form, whilst Tom Ince and Sebastian Giovinco both picked up hat-tricks. However I feel Ashley Cole had a solid month and performed his duties as captain well.

In the losses to Juventus and Cagliari neither goals were his fault and he has been an imperative link between defence and attack. The former Chelsea man has really taken his captains responsibilities in his stride.

UEFA Champions League

Serie A

We now lie 7th in the league with 12 points from 6 games. However we remain only 3 points off top spot, so hopefully in the month ahead we can push on and find some consistency. Next month's fixtures: Schalke (A), Sassuolo (H), Fiorentina (A), FC Basel (H), Napoli (H), AS Roma (A).
That win over Lyon :O Pompey won't be happy :P
Other than that victory, not a great month but I'm sure you can make the team more consistent!
C'mon dude!

Player Unrest In Lazio Camp

Cristian Ledesma (left), Alvaro Gonzalez (center) and Lucas Biglia (right) have all handed in transfer requests after they were denied more playing time by manager Matt Cox.

There is unrest in the Lazio camp as manager Matt Cox has accepted transfer requests from three first team squad players. Alvaro Gonzalez, Cristian Ledesma and Lucas Biglia have all made it clear to the English manager that they wanted more playing time, a request that was denied by Cox.

The frustration has finally boiled over as the three players have handed in requests to leave the club in the next transfer window. Sky Sources believe that Championship side Leicester City have agreed a fee of £2m with Lazio and that personal terms have been reached with the Uruguayan. Meanwhile, long time servant to the club Cristian Ledesma has agreed a move to Serie A rivals Chievo for a fee of £130k. Ledesma has been at the Rome club since 2006 and has been a regular starter; up until Cox was appointed. The one time capped Italy midfielder commands £40k per week and has only made 9 appearances in the two years that Cox has been in charge so it is rumoured that the British head coach is happy to remove a big chunk off of the wage bill.

The highest profile request comes from Argentina national team regular Lucas Biglia who joined Lazio two years ago for a fee of £6m from Belgian champions Anderlecht. Biglia was in the starting XI for the national team in their recent World Cup Final loss to Germany in Brazil and is believed to be frustrated with his lack of appearances. The midfield general has only started 8 times under Cox in two years and is unhappy with his bench role, but it is believed that Lazio are looking to recoup to close to the £6m they spent on him. Interested parties are believed to be Serie A rivals Udinese, Cagliari and English Premiership teams Liverpool and Arsenal.
Coxy's avatar Group Coxy
9 yearsEdited

Solid Month Puts Lazio Back On Track

We moved to 3rd place in Serie A following a return to goalscoring form from Serie A Player of the Year Antonio Candreva.

October Results

SCHALKE 1-0 LAZIO (UEFA Champions League)
Huntelaar (51)

Candreva (20, 64, pen)
Astori (51)
Giovinco (73, 90)

Giovinco (14, 61)
Ince (57)

LAZIO 1-0 FC BASEL (UEFA Champions League)
Giovinco (20)

LAZIO 1-0 NAPOLI (Serie A)
Ince (77)

ROMA 1-1 LAZIO (Serie A)
Candreva (5)
Viviani (41)

A strong month put us back into contention to defend our Serie A title. We lie 5 points behind AC Milan, who have only dropped points against us, whilst we are also 3 points behind 2nd placed Juventus.

We battled hard against Schalke but their quality and experience ousted us in a tight battle in Germany. We bounced back in the European competition however with a comfortable 1-0 victory over Basel. The result may seem tight but we dominated the match and could have won much more comfortably. This puts us in a good position at the half way point in the group; making us 2nd place on goal difference behind Schalke.

Our Serie A performances this month have been excellent. We dominated every game we played and managed to hammer Sassuolo, sweep aside Fiorentina in Florence and sneak past last season's problem team Napoli. However the draw with Roma was extremely disappointing as we dominated the game and were hit on the counter attack for their goal with one of our rival's only shots on target.

Following my main concern of Antonio Candreva not chipping in with many goals, he has really turned it around this month with 3 goals and a handful of assists in 4 games. However, following a period of extended playing time, it is Sebastian Giovinco who has really impressed me with 5 goals in 5 games. Giovinco has earned a starting spot this month ahead of Klose who has struggled for fitness in recent weeks.

Player Of The Month

5 goals, 5 games: Sebastian Giovinco

It was hard to pick between a rejuvenated Antonio Candreva and a free-scoring Sebastian Giovinco, as both played a key part in a successful month. However I feel Giovinco has really stepped up his performances and has scored on average a goal a game this month.

UEFA Champions League

Serie A

We now lie 3rd in the league with 22 points from 10 games. We have improved dramatically from the previous month but still find ourselves 5 points off top. However I feel we can definitely pick up the 12 points on offer in November from our Serie A fixtures. Next month's Serie A fixtures are: Chievo (H), Inter Milan (A), Torino (H) and Atalanta (A).

Meanwhile, I believe we can take a large step to securing qualification to the next round of the Champions League. We face: FC Basel (A) and Olympique Lyonnais (A) in two difficult away games. However 6 points will put us in a commanding position heading into the final game with group favourites Schalke.

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