Unbeaten Salzburg aim to grasp Europa League chance by toppling Lazio
The Austrian league leaders have not lost in this season’s tournament, knocking out teams like Borussia Dortmund and Real Sociedad.
Red Bull Salzburg coach Marco Rose is optimistic about his team’s prospects ahead of their Europa League quarter-final debut on Thursday.
Austrian league leaders Salzburg, unbeaten in all competitions since August, knocked out Borussia Dortmund to reach the last-eight, which followed a 4-3 round-of-32 aggregate triumph against Real Sociedad.
Serie A heavyweights Lazio now await in the first leg at Rome’s Stadio Olimpico, but Salzburg’s form is such that they will not travel with any sense of trepidation.
“Lazio are, you can say, a typically Italian team,” Rose told Salzburg’s website.
“They play very disciplined tactical football and work well as a team off the ball. They also have great individual quality.
“We are really looking forward to it, but are going into the match with the greatest of respect. We have the feeling again this time that we can do something.”
And Salzburg defender Andre Ramalho added: “Lazio are very strong defensively, tactically disciplined, and definitely go into the quarter-final against us as favourites.
“We are determined to play our part though, and will give our all to get the best chance we possibly can. We have already shown that we can compete against big opponents.”
Lazio have won eight of their last 11 home games in the Europa League and moved into the quarter-finals following knockout successes against Romanian side FCSB and Dynamo Kiev.
And while a team currently fifth in Serie A are favourites to progress at Salzburg’s expense, coach Simone Inzaghi expects a fierce examination for his team.
Speaking at his pre-match press conference, reported by www.sslazio.it, Inzaghi said: “We knew from the moment of the draw the value of Salzburg.
“We will find a strong and organised team, still undefeated in the Europa League. They have met some very strong teams, but never lose. They are not by chance in the quarter-finals, as Lazio did not arrive by chance at this point of the tournament.
“The Europa League has become a very important goal. We gave everything to return to Europe last season.
“We are confident, the boys are preparing well and know the importance of the match. Tomorrow we will give our best on the pitch.
“We have analysed Salzburg, and they are a very compact team that works best in every department. They have great quantity, combined with a good quality.
“I reached the UEFA Cup semi-final as a player, and I would like to bring the team back in this round of the European competition. We will need two big matches against a team that wants to reach the semi-final, like us.
“We will do everything to achieve a place in the semi-finals. We have so much respect for Salzburg, but no fear.”