Pioli still hoping for Europa League

Lazio head coach Stefano Pioli is determined to qualify for a European competition after his side's 5-2 victory over Hellas Verona at Stadio Olimpico on Thursday.

Goals from Alessandro Matri, Stefano Mauri and Felipe Anderson opened up a big lead for the Roman side before Leandro Greco and Luca Toni pulled the Gialloblu back into the game in the second half, only for Balde Keita and Antonio Candreva to seal the victory late on.

"We did well tonight," Pioli told Sky Sport Italia. "I liked the team and it's just a pity about that late lapse in concentration, as we cannot afford that in Serie A. We had been missing the goals, as recently we didn't finish off the wealth of possession."

The win lifts Lazio up to seventh in the Serie A standings, eight points adrift of Europa League qualification but with the Champions League places just two points further away.

"As long as it's mathematically possible to qualify for Europe, we have to believe," Pioli added. "Why think otherwise? We can win many games and put together many points, but logically it won't be easy to close in on the sides above us.

"The squad is pretty young, but also includes a World Cup winner, a World Cup Finalist and many internationals. Unfortunately we're paying the price for a poor November, when we got one point in six games, because apart from Juventus and Napoli we fought it out with everyone.

"We are trailing, but I asked my players to achieve something great and notch up a series of positive results, then we'll see where we end up. We have the quality to achieve great results and qualify for Europe. We just tend to lose concentration and did it again tonight for five minutes."

Comments