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Ashley Cole is widely regarded as one of the best left backs over the last decade, but at 33 years of age, he was deemed surplus to requirements at Chelsea in the summer. The former Arsenal man not only announced his retirement from international duty, but he also surprised many by joining Roma on a free transfer. Since moving to the Italian outfit, he has been playing on a regular basis. This persuaded manager Rudi Garcia to start with the experienced campaigner in the Champions League group match against Bayern Munich.
Roma came into the match with a real opportunity to cement their position in the group after getting a 1-1 draw against Manchester City in the previous round. City were seen as the early favourites to finish second in the group behind Bayern, but the Premier League outfit are yet to get a win.
Hence, Garcia went with a strong line-up against Bayern but his players performed very poorly and were thrashed 7-1. This was one of the highest scores in the Champions League group stages. Cole was having a tough time against Bayern Munich’s Arjen Robben and he was substituted at half-time. Garcia, though, has defended the performance of Cole by saying that the former Chelsea man was not the only one to play poorly against the Germans.
“The defeat against Bayern wasn’t just down to one player. Everyone got things wrong, the Coach included. Ashley has also had big games where he’s played well, such as the game with Manchester City not long ago [a 1-1 draw at the Etihad].
He’s feeling good, he’s always positive and he’s a great champion, he’ll be involved in the upcoming games,” said Garcia. Roma started the season in brilliant fashion, but their form of late has been rather worrying with just one win in the last five.
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The previous coach of Lazio, Edoardo Reja enjoyed having an impressive time as the coach of the Italian club as he rescued Lazio out of the relegation zone and into a middle section finish during his debut season as the coach of the Italian side.
The next season arrived and things continued going in favor of Lazio and Edoardo Reja as were they at the top of the Italian League, Serie A for a significantly long period of time but Reja decided to resign and step down from his managerial position at Lazio despite having constant claims and pleas for him to continue on.
On May 17 of 2012 Edoardo Reja resigned but he made his return to the club on January 4 of 2014, however his stay was not long as the Italian coach once more decided to resign and has been replaced by Stefano Pioli.
Lazio are currently located in the higher section of the Italian League and Edoardo Reja displayed his support towards Stefano Pioli as Reja believes that the current coach is doing things right.
“The President asked me, ‘and now who will I sign?’ And there were Coaches I recommended to him, Pioli was one of those. He is working well. He has brought a philosophy of play, it’s a good one, works well on the field. On the level of the game, although they have lost a few games, Lazio have their own identity’’
“It takes time to learn about the environment. And at Lazio there aren’t the conditions in which to experiment’’ Edoardo Reja said.
Lazio endured a rocky start of the season after losing 3-1 against Ac.Milan and a few weeks later enduring successive defeats against Genoa and Udinese but they have managed to pick themselves up and respond by smashing 4 goals past Palermo as well as claiming crucial triumphs over Sassuolo and more recently against Fiorentina.
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Lazio started the new Italian Serie A campaign with a lot of positivity especially after having come close to qualifying for the Champions League this season. However, they suffered a defeat in the opening match of the season against AC Milan. This was one of the standout fixtures of the opening day, as Lazio were coming up against a team that had the former Milan legend Filippo Inzaghi standing in the dugout. Inzaghi recently replaced Clarence Seedorf and there has been talk that the former striker has tried to revolutionise the team in the hope of getting them back to top.
One of the exciting matches of the weekend, Lazio came on the wrong side of a 3-1 score. Milan were excellent throughout the 90 minutes, as they came out with pace and power especially with Stephan El Shaarawy being impressive. Lazio were unable to respond for much of the match, but towards the end they had a number of chances that were saved due to the brilliance of former Real Madrid goalkeeper Diego Lopez, who was making his debut for Milan. Lazio’s new manager Stefano Pioli, who was appointed in the summer in place of Edoardo Reja, was disappointed to see his team lose the opening match.
However, he said that Lazio were good enough to warrant at least three goals that would have helped them draw the match.
“I like the personality of the team, but especially in the first half we had to be more incisive and aggressive. In the first half we lacked a little bit of clarity, but not in the second. We created five or six scoring chances and deserved at least the three goals that Milan had. We made the right purchases in July. I know this group, and I know that this team has technical and moral values. The team is good, we’re growing. We want to return to Europe,” said Pioli.
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