Lotito keen on title challenge

As Lazio prepare to face Atalanta, Claudio Lotito says he feels the current squad can challenge for the title.

Last Updated: 12/01/13 at 11:01

Vladimir Petkovic's men are five points adrift of Juve

Vladimir Petkovic's men are five points adrift of Juve

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Lazio president Claudio Lotito feels the current squad at the Stadio Olimpico has what it takes to successfully challenge Juventus for the Serie A title.

Vladimir Petkovic's workmanlike side, peppered with the outstanding individual talents of Miroslav Klose and Hernanes, has closed to within five points of league leaders Juve on the back of a run of six wins from eight games.

Reports in Italy have linked the Biancocelesti with moves for Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard and Casemiro of Sao Paolo but Lotito is unwilling to risk either financial security or team spirit in the pursuit of the Scudetto.

He told La Repubblica: "There are a lot of names flying around at the moment but we know we have a squad that can compete with anybody.

"That has been proven with the results and by the quality of football on display.

"The addition of any players is both a footballing and a financial issue. Nowadays our dressing room is balanced and we do not want to affect the atmosphere we have created."

Defender Modibo Diakite is expected to leave the club in January, though, having rejected an improved contract offer to stay in Rome.

"Diakite? We are are not worried, we did what we had to do by offering him a contract," Lotito added. "He did not accept it and is in talks with other teams, so it looks like he's made his mind up over his future."

Atalanta director of sport Pierpaolo Marino is similarly unmoved by the transfer window, suggesting that competitive football should be put on hold while clubs reorganise their playing staff.

"Serie A should take Serie B's lead in stopping during the winter transfer window," he told La Repubblica. "It is very difficult to conduct negotiations while you are playing games.

"Everybody's talking about everybody else - it's an abomination."

Meanwhile, Thomas Manfredini has left Bergamo to join Genoa, with fellow defender Ezequiel Schelotto reportedly interesting Inter Milan.

Marino added: "(Manfredini) wanted to leave and we were forced to let him go because we could not match the Rossoblu's offer.

"(Schelotto) has never asked for a transfer, even though I cannot guarantee that he will stay. There have been offers for him but so far we have not entered into any negotiations."

Gian Bellini, Daniele Capelli, Guido Marilungo and Stefano Lucchini are unlikely to play any part at the Stadio Olimpico as Atalanta bid for their first away win over Lazio since April 2009, having failed to score past the Biancocelesti in three of the last four meetings between the two clubs.

Midfielder Ederson and defender Marius Stankevicius are Petkovic's only injury concerns.


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Serie A Fixtures

Monday, 05 January 2015
19:45
Lazio v Sampdoria  
Tuesday, 06 January 2015
14:00
AC Milan v Sassuolo  
Chievo v Torino  
Empoli v Verona  
Genoa v Atalanta  
Palermo v Cagliari  
Parma v Fiorentina  
Udinese v Roma  
17:00
Cesena v Napoli  
21:00
Juventus v Inter  

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