Following an underwhelming debut campaign in Serie A, Felipe Anderson has surged to stardom under the guidance of Stefano Pioli.
Felipe Anderson has credited head coach Stefano Pioli for his rise to prominence at Lazio, telling O Globo that the Italian tactician’s belief has been key to his development.
Lazio were forced to fight tooth and nail to sign the Brazilian in 2013, with a failed January move giving way to tense summer negotiations that eventually resulted in his capture.
Yet the ensuing season passed by without Anderson making much of an impact in a thoroughly disappointing performance from the Aquile.
Anderson started just seven times and tallied a single goal as both Vladimir Petkovic and Edy Reja took charge of the side, the latter resigning in June 2014.
Former Bologna boss Stefano Pioli was handed the job just hours later, and has proceeded to get the best out of 21-year-old at the Stadio Olimpico.
Pioli slowly but surely integrated the starlet into his plans, handing him consistent minutes before anointing the starlet as a nailed-on starter from match day 14 against Parma.
The Brazilian began to take Serie A by storm, with even a short injury lay-off doing little to slow his progress – Anderson has grabbed 10 goals and six assists in his last 13 appearances.
His brilliance has led to comparisons with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar, while foreign scouts have reportedly been watching from the stands with keen interest.
Calciomercato reported early last month the both Liverpool and Manchester United had observed Anderson, later on detailing a visit from chief United scout Jim Lawlor.
With all eyes on him as Lazio line up to compete each weekend, Anderson has explained that it is Pioli’s faith which has precipitated his superb form in the Eternal City.
Anderson told O Globo: “I have grown here and changed my personality. I’ve learned to confront problems and Pioli gave me the chance to show who I really am.
“His calmness and trust in me have allowed me to integrate myself during this season. Pioli always tells me that I have to keep improving.
“At the start of the season I wasn’t in the starting line-up, but he always kept me in consideration. Little by little I earned my place. I owe a lot to Pioli and to the club.”
Having shown his value and a commitment to the maturation process, Anderson was rewarded in March with a new Biancocelesti contract that runs until 2020.
Pioli and company certainly don’t want to lose their exciting young star just yet, though going forward it looks as if Lazio will have to fight to keep him away from wealthy suitors.
Anderson seems to understand well the positive impact Pioli has had on his career, however, and such bodes well for his continued development in Rome.