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Jan 7, 2014

Edy Reja: I ignored Lotito's calls

New Lazio coach Edoardo Reja admitted he knew the call was coming for him to replace Vladimir Petkovic at the club, although he initially ignored his phone.

Edy Reja enjoyed a victory on his return to the Lazio bench.
Edy Reja enjoyed a victory on his return to the Lazio bench.

Gladwell: Absence makes heart grow fonder

Speaking after celebrating his return to the Lazio hot seat with the same result with which he had left it in 2012 -- a victory over Inter Milan -- the 68-year-old revealed how his contact with club president Claudio Lotito had never broken down since he resigned two summers ago.

That contact intensified over recent weeks, resulting in his return after Petkovic was sacked, but he could still have been enjoying his retirement had he resisted Lotito's calls a little longer.

"I won't lie -- I'd been in touch with Lotito ever since leaving," Reja told Sky Sport. "I called him maybe once a month, or every six weeks, just for a chat and to see how he was. I had a feeling he would call me and, to tell the truth, the first two times I saw it was him calling, I didn't pick up.

"I was so happy at home, without any problems. Then I thought it was only fair to answer and we had a chat, and one thing led to another."

Those chats led to Reja returning to the club he had guided into the Europa League two years in a row after initially saving them from relegation.

"I'm 68, but I've still got something to give," Reja added. "It was emotional coming back to [Lazio's training centre] Formello with lots of people showing their affection for me, and it brought me a few shivers.

"We've got to look forwards now. We didn't play well today because we were worried, but this team can do a great deal more and this result will give us some serenity."

The win lifted the Biancocelesti to within nine points of the top five.

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