Lazio can win Serie A's Scudetto race this season according to Christian Vieri, who lauded Simone Inzaghi's "amazing" team.
Spearheaded by highly rated head coach Inzaghi, talisman Ciro Immobile and star midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, Lazio are once again challenging in 2020-21.
Lazio can move to within six points of top spot with victory over second-placed Inter on Sunday as they prepare for a blockbuster Champions League last-16 tie against holders Bayern Munich.
Inzaghi has renewed Lazio's fortunes since taking charge in 2016, guiding the capital club to Coppa Italia (2019) and Supercoppa Italiana (2017 and 2019) success. The Biancocelesti had not celebrated silverware since 2013.
Ahead of the Inter showdown, Lazio have found the net in each of their past 17 Serie A games – they last went on a longer streak in October 1994 (18).
Lazio have also gained the most Serie A points in 2021 (19). They are the only unbeaten side (W6 D1) – having also conceded the fewest goals (four, level with Genoa) since the turn of the year.
Vieri spent a year with Lazio in 1998-99 – scoring 14 goals in 28 appearances under Sven-Goran Eriksson as the club won the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup and Supercoppa Italiana alongside Alessandro Nesta, Pavel Nedved, Marcelo Salas, Sinisa Mihajlovic and Dejan Stankovic before a then-record move to Inter – and he hailed the work of Inzaghi.
"He has been there for four years. You can't change coach every year," ex-Italy striker Vieri told Stats Perform News. "Coaches need time. All the teams that are changing every year aren't doing well.
"Lazio are doing amazing. They have an amazing director – [Igli] Tare, fantastic. They have big players at Lazio.
"Lazio are a fantastic team. They played amazing football. In the Champions League and qualified very easy.
"Lazio are there to win everything. Lazio can win the Scudetto, you never know. Let's see what happens in the Champions League. Anything can happen, but they're doing amazing."
Lazio have not won the Scudetto since 1999-2000 – Inzaghi was part of that triumphant team as a player – but threatened to end their drought last season.
They were only a point adrift of Juventus when the league was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic in March last year.
But when the 2019-20 campaign resumed, Lazio stumbled and eventually finished third – four points behind Juve as the Turin powerhouse claimed a ninth consecutive Serie A crown.
"Everyone stopped playing, not only Lazio. The thing is, when you play and you don't need to win the Scudetto, you play with no pressure," the 47-year-old Vieri explained.
"When they say to you, there's 8-10 games to go and we have to win all eight, and tomorrow we have to win, it changes. You stop sleeping. You're nervous because you have to win.
"One thing is winning the game and no one says anything – you're second or third but no one expects you to win. But when they say there's five games to go and you have to win all five, that changes everything.
"When they started again after COVID-19, they had to win the last six or seven games and didn't do that. Juventus are used to the pressure. That's how it is."