Petkovic: Zarate must earn his place

The Argentine forward was not in the starting XI for Lazio's weekend fixture and his coach believes this will give the player an incentive to fight for his position
Lazio forward Mauro Zarate was dropped as a result of a technical decision as his side claimed a 3-0 Serie A win against Pescara on Sunday, giving the South American striker a reality check about his squad status.

Coach Vladimir Petkovic has defended his decision and believes when his players return from the international break, they should all be ready to fight for their place in the starting line-up.

"He [Zarate] too has to earn his place in the team, just like all the others," announced Petkovic, speaking to Lazio Style Radio.

"I am certain after this break for international duty, those who return will want to give their all to confirm their place or take it off someone else."

Whilst Lazio sit in third place after seven Serie A matches, the Sarajevo-born boss has warned his squad not to get carried away with their achievements, as they look to press on from early success.

He added: "We have to keep our feet on the ground. We have done well, but are also aware we are not 100 per cent. We always want to keep control of the game, which isn't easy, but so far, the players have worked hard and shown some pretty positive things.

"We worked very well in pre-season, but the turning point was the last friendly with Malmo and our first victory in an official game, as that is when we started to believe in what we had done over the previous few months."