Lazio not relegation candidates - Lotito

Lazio president Claudio Lotito has dismissed claims his team are set to battle against relegation this season.

"You can only talk about the relegation battle at the end of the campaign - it's too early at the moment," the fiery patron stated.

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"Last year we got off to a bad start and we turned it around, but maybe we aren't the same Lazio that we were last season.

"It's not that the squad has changed for the worse, in fact it is stronger from a technical point of view. We are just lacking consistency as we can go from brilliant performances like the one against Real Madrid to the lacklustre effort of yesterday.

"There has also been a disruptive climate, which has unbalanced the team and the club as a whole. We have suffered in a way that other clubs haven't."

Lazio have been blighted by injuries this term and have been forced to do without several key men for significant periods.

"We have, on average, seven injured men at any one time," Lotito claimed. "You take seven players away from Roma and then see if they play the same football.

"80 per cent of the complaints are serious ones like meniscus and cruciate problems."

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