Tudor: ‘Takes time and patience to transform this Lazio’

New Lazio coach Igor Tudor opened up about his plans in Rome, his first match in charge against Juventus and his thoughts on some stars in the squad.

The 45-year-old Croatian coach has been working with his new team for less than two weeks now, having taken over from Maurizio Sarri on March 18th, penning a one-year contract to June 2025 with an option for a second linked to easily achievable sporting results.

Lazio sits in a difficult spot following the downfall of Maurizio Sarri’s project, sitting ninth in the Serie A table, 11 points behind fourth-place Bologna with nine league matches left to play. Whilst Champions League qualification looks unlikely, a European spot is still within grasp.

Speaking in a press conference via TMW, Tudor first discussed his first impressions of his Lazio squad.

“They all returned without injuries, and this is important. The problem is that they arrived late, and we did little work. We worked well with the others in six or seven training sessions. The boys had the right application and desire.

“The team must be the mirror of the coach, but it takes time and patience to transform this Lazio. I’ve been here a little while. I’ll try to do it quickly, but the team won’t be perfect, but we will work.”

He touched on his emotions ahead of his debut.

“The feelings are always positive, in sport, you always think about the challenge, of being able to win. Sport is joy.

“It will be beautiful, there will be many motivations, but it must be prepared in the right way from every point of view. I think about preparing the team and not about emotions.”

Tudor commented on what Juventus means to him.

“I don’t believe in the fate that Juventus faces immediately. I spent seven or eight years there, in the period when a person is built. I’m grateful to Juventus. I had teammates and managers who made me become who I am now, especially due to the work culture.”

He touched on his plans to shake up the defensive strategy, focusing on players instead of the ball.

“There are two things that penalize this change. Lazio has been working this way for three years and then there was Sarri who is a strong coach. You have to be smart.

“The formation is important but not as many people think. Maybe you start with a system, but then it becomes another pattern. The three-man defense? You’ll see it soon, we’ll see tomorrow.”

Tudor was asked if he had a particular starting lineup in mind.

“It’s a delicate situation, everyone will necessarily have to play. It’s the first match, after the international break, and then there are two matches in four days. The five substitutes are important. I also have to understand the team, training is one thing, and matches are another.

“I have to evaluate players who can improve and who can follow your football. Then you have to win, you have to do well right away, you need to be tough and have the right quality.”

He commented on whether he’s spoken to Ciro Immobile about the criticism he receives regarding the Italy national team.

“I don’t read social media and newspapers, it would be suicide. I think about working, both when things are going well and when they are going badly. I spoke to Ciro twice on this topic too, I saw him very motivated.

“I think he cares about the national team, it depends only on him in these two months. He has always scored, I think he will do it again. I count on him a lot, he is a guy with not only footballing but also human qualities. I know him, I’m convinced that it will be an important two months.”

Tudor spoke about whether he’d rely on the core players in the Lazio squad.

“There is always respect for the past, but you don’t live in the past. Football is cruel. We have to win, the team counts.”

He touched on the role of Daichi Kamada.

“In Germany he played both front and back, he is a complete player, he has stamina and playing quality. I think that, if I’m honest, he is better suited to this football than the previous one. He is not technically very clean, but he has other qualities that I like.

“He has the right mentality and then he scores goals, a skill that makes the difference. I also saw him looking very cheerful and eager, we’ll see on the pitch.”

Finally, Tudor discussed the mentality in the Lazio dressing room upon his arrival.

“They are eager and very proud. They are not ninth-place players, they want to redeem themselves. In 10 days, they are all perfect because the new coach is there, but with time we will understand better. You see real people later, in battle, when they don’t play or have to come on.”Read More

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