Lazio players have made a plea to the club's fans to turn out in large numbers for Sunday night's important Serie A clash with AC Milan.
Fans boycotted the Biancocelesti's last game at the Stadio Olimpico in protest at the way the club is being run by president Claudio Lotito. They have vowed to continue their protests -- and boycotts -- until Lotito steps down but, with that unlikely to happen, the players have taken it upon themselves to ask the fans to return.
Senad Lulic, Giuseppe Biava, Cristian Ledesma, Balde Kaita and Federico Marchetti issued a message on the club's Lazio Style Channel, which said: "We need you at the Olimpico on Sunday for another battle together -- we're fighting together for a place in the Europa League and we're fighting together for Lazio. Together, we can make it. We've got to do it together."
Lazio go into Sunday night's game six points ahead of the Rossoneri, and six adrift of the top five. Around 5,000 fans turned up for their defeat to Atalanta a fortnight ago as their patience in Lotito runs out.
According to former midfielder Roberto Di Matteo, Lotito should not be made out to be the villain for all he has achieved with the club.
"I have a good impression of him," he told Lazialita magazine. "I do understand the fans' criticism. Everybody wants to see their club spending millions and having the best players, but you've got to see the reality. Lotito saved Lazio from bankruptcy and they won two Coppa Italias and one Supercoppa. I wouldn't say that's too bad."
Whether Lazio play in Europe or not next season, they will have a new striker to help them, with Nantes forward Filip Djordjevic announcing he has signed a contract with the Rome club.
"I'm Filip Djordjevic, Lazio's new striker from next season," the 26-year-old said in a YouTube video. "I'm very emotional and excited to be joining such a big club and I hope we enjoy great moments together."