Gazza's absence saddens Petkovic
Lazio manager Vladimir Petkovic is sad to hear Paul Gascoigne cannot attend Thursday night's Europa League game against Tottenham.
And Petkovic hopes the troubled star will be able to make the reverse fixture between his two former employers in November.
Gascoigne joined Lazio from Tottenham 20 years ago and became a cult hero in the blue and white half of the Italian capital when he scored his first goal for the club against Roma, Lazio's biggest rivals.
Gascoigne went on to spend three years at the Stadio Olimpico before returning to Britain, where he helped Rangers win successive Scottish championships, but thereafter his life spiralled out of control.
The 45-year-old has battled alcohol problems, admitted beating his former wife and was sectioned under the Mental Health Act since his career ended.
He declined an offer to attend Thursday's Europa League game between his two most famous employers due to "personal reasons", but Petkovic hopes he will be in the stands at the Stadio Olimpico when the two sides meet on November 22.
"I followed Gascoigne when he was at Lazio and I know he was an idol to the fans so I am very sorry that he won't be there tomorrow and that he is having these problems at the moment," Petkovic told a press conference at White Hart Lane on Wednesday night.
"I certainly hope that with the inner strength that he undoubtedly has, he will be able to recover and that he will be in Rome for the second leg."
Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas, unlike his predecessor Harry Redknapp, has vowed to treat the Europa League with the utmost respect, meaning he will field a near full-strength side on Thursday.
And Petkovic, whose side have won all three of their Serie A games so far this term, intends to do the same.
He said: "Rotation will come further down the line. At the moment the players aren't tired so I think it's important to keep them playing to continue this series of good performances.
"For now the players who are playing well will continue."
Villas-Boas and Petkovic both took over as manager of their respective clubs this summer.
The Portuguese was under pressure before last weekend after failing to win any of his first three matches, but Petkovic insists his opposite number has had quite an easy life at his new club compared to him.
Many in Italy were surprised when the Lazio board sacked Edoardo Reja, who missed out on Champions League qualification by two points, and replaced him with Petkovic, who was managing little-known Swiss side FC Sion at the time.
His reign got off to a terrible start, with Lazio losing pre-season fixtures against Getafe, Siena, Torino and Galatasaray, while rioting marred a friendly with Salernitana.
"Villas-Boas was under pressure for the first few games of the season but some of us were under pressure before the season even started," said Petkovic, who was reportedly set for the sack if he lost his first Serie A game against Atalanta.
And the Bosnian has some advice for Villas-Boas should his season stutter once again.
"As a manager you have to set an example to your players and you need to make sure that you never give up so the players never give up and you never allow the pressure to get to you," the 49-year-old added.