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Apr 5, 2013

Petkovic: Referees don't support Lazio

Lazio manager Vladimir Petkovic believes his club's chances to progress to the Europa League semi-finals have been cruelled by un-supportive officials.

A ten-man Lazio stumbled to a 2-0 defeat to Fenerbahce in the first-leg of their quarter-final clash, with the referee taking the spotlight after dismissing Ogenyi Onazi early in the second-half and then awarding a 79th minute penalty to the Turkish side.

And a disappointed Petkovic told Mediaset Premium after the match that some of the decisions against his side in Europe this season have been "too steep".

"Conceding three penalties and suffering two red cards in our last five Europa League games is far too steep," he said. "It's a pity, because at this level we deserve more support."

"It's a shame that (Stefano) Mauri received a yellow for a 'foul'. We must fight against all odds."

But despite the defeat, the 49-year-old said he refused to admit Lazio's European dream had come to an end, believing the lack of home support will level the playing field.

"The result can be overturned as Fenerbahce will not play in front of a crowd," he said. "I don't think playing behind closed doors in the second leg will affect us.

"We are used to it as they are."

But before Lazio can think about the second-leg against Fenerbahce, there is an important game looming on the Serie A horizon – the Rome derby against Roma.

However, Petkovic may be forced into a number of changes for the derby, with a number of his players carrying injury problems.

"It's good to play in the derby next. We have so many important games left to play, so we have no excuses in terms of concentration and motivation when trying to get a result," Petkovic said.

"Will (Miroslav) Klose and Mauri be ready?' I don't know if they can play from the beginning. We will see their physical condition in the coming days."

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