Petkovic: Lazio 'deserved' Coppa victory
Lazio manager Vladimir Petkovic has hailed his players after they secured a 'deserved' 1-0 victory over fierce rivals Roma in the Coppa Italia final.
The final offered the Rome combatants a last-ditch chance to gain entry into Europe after both clubs failed to secure a continental spot in this season's Serie A.
But it was the blue half of the Eternal City which will be back in the Europa League after a Senad Lulic goal secured the win for Petkovic's men.
And the 49-year-old coach congratulated his team for performing in a game Lazio "had to win."
"I am very satisfied for these lads who worked so hard this year and deserved the victory," Petkovic told RAI Sport. "It's not easy to win a game like this and I'm sorry for Roma, but I am proud of my team.
"Now we have Europe in front of us and the Italian Super Cup against Juventus. I knew after all we did and the way we prepared for the Final that we had to win.
"A bit of luck and the right mentality helped us to win this trophy. At the final whistle, after four minutes of stoppages, I finally knew we'd won. It was still in the balance right to the end, as with a long ball anything can happen, but we held on.
"We weren't sharp towards the end of the season, but we were concentrated and it wasn't easy on a physical level when some of our players had taken part in so many matches, including international duty.
"I have always tried to remain the same Petkovic who was before Lazio, with the right humility and work ethic. Slowly the results arrived and I am happy the fans are enjoying this moment.
"I dedicate the Coppa to all the families of these players and staff who put up with them being away from home for a long time. Now we celebrate."
Meanwhile, Roma manager Aurelio Andreazzoli has insisted he would "make the same decisions again" despite losing to club's most bitter of foes.
There were reports Roma striker Pablo Daniel Osvaldo was seen shouting at his coach after only being given the last 15 minutes to make an impact.
But Andreazzoli said he had not regrets at the fulltime whistle.
"I would without doubt make the same decisions again," he told RAI Sport. "I wanted responses from my players and a battle emerged on the field that was very hard fought. As often happens in these cases, a moment of luck tends to be decisive.
"Roma weren't very dangerous, but neither were Lazio. It was a balanced encounter and nobody wanted to lose, of course. We rather cancelled each other out.
"I didn't like this game in terms of technique, but I was impressed with the passion and determination on show."