Mauri wants 'special' final
Mon, 28 Jan 2013 22:02:00
Lazio midfielder Stefano Mauri would relish the chance to play in an capital-city Coppa Italia final, but he knows Juventus present a huge obstacle to realising that dream.
The Biancocelesti welcome Juve to the Stadio Olimpico for Tuesday night's semi-final second leg having claimed a creditable 1-1 draw in Turin last week.
Roma must wait until April 17 to try and consolidate their 2-1 first-leg lead over Inter Milan, but Mauri wants to ensure Lazio are ready and waiting for them in May's showpiece final.
The 33-year-old told Gazzetta.it: "First of all, we just want to get to the final. If it was a derby than that would be a special feeling for everyone in the city. We will see.
"This semi-final will be a decisive point in our season. Qualifying for the final will be a huge stimulus as we will have eliminated Juve. They're not just any other team.
"They are a great side who have been showing what they can do for two years. They are a cohesive unit, they run hard and have a great hunger to win.
"But they're playing every three days too and that takes a lot out of you. We are feeling fatigued too, that's normal. After the Christmas break it wasn't easy to get going again and play to our best every three days."
Mauri feels the dedicated core of Biancocelesti fans have a crucial part to play in welcoming the Italian champions into a intimidating atmosphere.
"After claiming a good draw in Turin, it's our turn to play at the Olimpico in front of our own fans. It will be different," he added.
"But Juve are really good when they lose the ball, they look to get it back with a pressing game. They're always ready to go again."
Mauri left it late to score Lazio's equaliser at the Juventus Stadium after Federico Peluso had fired the Bianconeri ahead.
Juventus will have to be on their best behaviour in Rome. Head coach Antonio Conte has been handed a two-match ban in Serie A for angrily confronting referee Marco Guida at the end of a 1-1 draw with Genoa.