Pioli expects Lazio response
Lazio coach Stefano Pioli believes his team have developed the consistency needed to overcome Bayer Leverkusen in their UEFA Champions League play-off.
The Serie A side welcome Leverkusen to the Stadio Olimpico on Tuesday for what will be just their second competitive game of the season.
Pioli feels his side have taken the necessary steps forward since losing the Supercoppa Italiana to Juventus on August 8.
"We are ready for sure," he said.
"We have improved our preparation and physical condition although the pre-season as well as the Italian Super Cup were disappointing.
"I am strongly convinced though that we have been doing good work especially in the last fortnight we have found that consistency which was missing previously.
"We are ready to face this obstacle but I would say we are ready to tackle it."
Pioli talked up Leverkusen and said Roger Schmidt's team, who reached the Champions League round of 16 last season, were very similar to Lazio.
"We have to play with the Lazio's spirit especially because we are playing in front of our fans," he said.
"We know that we are playing against a team which is similar to us in terms of characteristics and mentality.
"They have been protagonists in the championship over the last two years; Bayer Leverkusen is a very competitive team, has already played in Champions League last season and was eliminated on penalties by Atletico Madrid.
"As I said, we have our identity and philosophy and we want to give our best. I know this is only the first game but we want to get the best advantage out of it."