It was hardly a surprise when Lazio management decided to go on with summer`s longest training camp at Auronzo di Cadore, a place near Venezia, which appear to suit Lazio pretty well.
By that time, Lazio had already signed 2-3 players and a couple of more were about to have their transfers completed. Once Lotito and Tare finalized their mercato (very early in fact and contrary to all previous years when Lotito usually makes business on the last day) Edy Reja got to business and had all his desires satisfied. He wanted 2 strikers, he got them (Cisse and Klose); he wanted a midfielder with different characteristics that those he had, he got one (Lorik Cana); he wanted Konko as Lichteiner`s replacement and he got it. It remained up to Zio Edy now to start developing a team or better put, a system which will work for Lazio in the coming season. Worth noting is that even Olympia joined the team at Auronzo di Cadore.
During the first tactical sessions, Edy Reja had mixed though on whether to deploy a 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-1-2. Usually the training session would end up with team being divided on two sides where one side would play the former system and the other the latter. Reja though that 4-2-3-1 suited some players more and 4-3-1-2 suited better to some others.
When Lazio started playing in friendlies, the class of Hernanes and Klose surfaced immediately but Lazio was playing some weak opponents there, so, that would basically not count. Later on, Edy Reja started thinking of using a typical 4-4-2 system, which probably Hernanes and Mauri playing wider.That was not going to work even for amateur fans as it is so obvious that this Lazio roster is not equipped with players capable of fitting in this system. Neither Hernanes or Mauri/Zarate/Foggia or whoever are pure wingers and that was about to fail.
The failure and the clearest indication that Lazio cannot play 4-4-2 came rather quickly. In a friendly in Spain, Villareal thrashed Lazio 3-1. The result is not as tragic as is the performance of the players, rather lost in this scheme used by Reja on that particular night. The alarm bell began ringing.
The next day, Italian dailies who cover Lazio were quick to point out what became obvious and criticized Reja for stubbornly insisting to use the only system, which perhaps Lazio can`t play with the players at disposal.
However, Edy Reja reacted swiftly and publically declared after the Villareal match that the time for experiments has ended that he made up his mind about which system he would use: 4-2-3-1, a system which brought Lazio more points last season. And there was a moment of relief for all of us.
Once this decision was made, everything started to look brighter. The training session concentrated on the use of this system and making adjustments which were made based on who was playing. Reja says that 4-2-3-1 functions differently when, for instance, Zarate plays on the right and differently when Cisse does the same.
Confirmation that current players are most familiar with this system and the new arrivals quicker to adjust came last weekened when on two consecutive days Lazio took on Cluj and the next day against Aris Thessaloniki. On both occasions, Lazio won and what is more important – Lazio convinced.
Now that the most suitable system has been found, it remains up to Edy Reja to make it work perfectly on the pitch with the roster currently at disposal.
Photos (Zarate and Brocchi in Lazio vs Cluj) and (Cana, Dias and Cisse in Lazio vs Aris)