Petkovic wants Lazio to pass one final test

There is one more test Lazio must pass to give coach Vladimir Petkovic a stress-free international break, as they battle for victory at Torino on Sunday.

Lazio head coach Vladimir Petkovic speaks with his player Cristian Ledesma

The Biancocelesti took one step closer to the Europa League final after despatching Stuttgart over two legs, with a challenging quarter-final meeting with Fenerbahce now scheduled for early April.

Beyond that lies a Coppa Italia final against Inter Milan or Roma, but Petkovic will not be content to send his players away on international duty unless Lazio claim a first away win in the league since December.

He told La Repubblica: "This season we've responded so well in so many games that the occasional slip has happened, but across all three fronts we have always done well.

"For now it is important to concentrate on the league and we'll think about the Europa League when it comes round again.

"Now we have to get points at Torino so that we can get some peace of mind and relax a bit for the next two weeks, even if some players will be on international duty."

Lazio's slide out of the Champions League places is partly due to a lack of goals, with a previously prolific Biancocelesti side failing to find the net in four of their last six games.

The absence of injured striker Miroslav Klose has been particularly debilitating but Petkovic feels the Germany striker is nearing a return to fitness.

"I hope that Klose will be back in training with the team by the end of the international break," he added.

Goalkeeper Federico Marchetti is doubtful, with Abdoulay Konko, Marius Stankevicius and Cristian Brocchi also injured as midfielder Hernanes serves a one-match ban.

Promoted Torino, meanwhile, may be settled in mid-table but recent results have not been especially encouraging.

The Granata let a one-goal lead turn into a 4-1 defeat at Parma last time out and club president Urbano Cairo has responded by setting a points target for the remaining 10 games.

"We have an eight-point cushion over the final third but I still want us to get at least another eight points," he said.

Defenders Abou Diop and Angelo Ogbonna are unlikely to feature through injury while Guillermo Rodriguez and Jonathas serve suspensions.

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