Speaking to gathered reporters in a press conference (via La Lazio Siamo Noi) earlier today, Tare was overjoyed to be joined by the 62-year-old Italian coach.
Good morning everyone, we are very happy today to present the new coach Maurizio Sarri, before continuing I want to take the opportunity to thank Mr. Inzaghi and his staff for the work done in the last 5 years with Lazio, we wish him well for the adventure at Inter.
Why Sarri? For us it was a great opportunity to make that even more difficult leap.
We knew we had done a great job in recent years, but with the opportunity to get Sarri it was also a test for us to try in these difficult times that we are going through in the world of football to bring here a very experienced coach, as strengths he has the team spirit, the offensive strength, it is the same spirit of Lazio.
We welcome all his staff, we hope to enjoy many good things together.
First, Sarri discussed what the Derby della Capitale against Jose Mourinho’s Roma will be like.
I can’t see this great dual, I’ve met him, he’s a great character, I still like him. I don’t feel there’s a rivalry at all, he’s won a lot more than me, he has a higher pedigree than me. Obviously in the derby we’ll do anything and everything to win the game.
I don’t have a lot of quotes to make, I’ll quote myself more than others. I would like to see a team that has a great spirit of sacrifice during the week to have fun on Sunday, that comes out the hunger in training to have the hunger in the game to dominate.
In official matches I mean, this is what I would like to see. The first reason is of a personal nature, I saw in this club the characteristics to express the best of me, then of a sporting nature, even if we lack something in this team, I like what I see and there are the right conditions.
He touched on what moment this is in his career.
It’s a moment when I needed this, a team with these characteristics, that would take me to do the job in the way that suits me.
The 62-year-old Italian coach then commented on how much time he’ll need to find success.
Time is an imponderable question, in my experiences I’ve seen a bit of everything. At Empoli we were last after 8 games, at Napoli after 3 games we had 2 points, then we won repeatedly. At Chelsea we started well, then there was a period of rejection and then we grew again.
At Juve it was difficult even though we won the league. We have to see a team in a long competition, all in all it went well. I don’t know if there can be an initial backlash or a rejection afterwards, everything happened to me, we’ll see how to limit the difficulties that will come in the first season.
We’ve made a list of positions in the market, we play a different kind of football than in the past, so far we haven’t focused on names but on roles and characteristics. The market is difficult for us but for almost all the teams, maybe only a few English teams have the margin to get important money.
I’d like to start tomorrow morning with 24 definitive players, I know that in current football it’s impossible, we’ll do it as soon as possible, we have to be ready for different solutions.
Sarri discussed star striker Ciro Immobile and his place in the squad.
Mancini is talking about him, he always puts him in, it means he’s happy. He started well in terms of goals, now he hasn’t scored in the last few games, then he’s giving everything else. The participation is of a good level.
Then there are times when scoring comes easier, others a bit less. What I’ve seen from Ciro leaves me extremely calm, I know that grades often depend on the goal made or missed, but for a coach it’s different.
I’ve seen players who I would have killed on Sunday night get a 7.5, and those who worked their socks off get a 5.5. Journalists can’t influence me, I’m happy with what Ciro is doing.
If you talk about Juve, Lazio, they’re abstract entities. Clubs are made up of people who represent the club, it’s difficult to talk in general terms, at the moment people are more suitable here, then it can be a right or wrong assessment.
It won’t be an easy and short path, with new teams at the beginning I always struggled a bit. When you have precise ideas, when you are a coach on the pitch and not a manager, it’s inevitable. People think they are cold schemes, here we are talking about philosophy, you have to pass the philosophy on to the players and your own way of thinking.
It’s quite a long way, putting 25 different brains together and getting them to match philosophy is complex. The football I enjoy is the one that sends me home in the evening happy regardless of the result. You can go home angry even after a win.
The number one goal is to have fun, it starts with the coach, he starts to have fun, then the player, the team, and then look at it. Unlike the clichés that you have to play badly to win, I don’t understand that. You can lose games but if you play well you win in the end.
The former Napoli and Juventus coach revealed that Luis Alberto did not respond to the pre-season callup.
Luis Alberto didn’t respond to a call-up, it’s a problem from the club’s point of view, from a moral point of view I’m waiting for him to arrive, to talk to me and the team, if he convinces us the problem goes away, if not he’ll have to apologize to me and the team.
If I didn’t believe in him, I would have opposed the purchase. He had 6-7 months here as a stratospheric player, he seemed destined for Barcelona or Bayern.
When I was in England, he did well in the first leg, the problem was always consistency, our goal is to create the conditions for him to keep his value, he has enormous potential.
Our task is to bring him to serenity so he can have consistency. I don’t understand why he’s inconsistent, I hope to help him remove this problem, but he has ferocious potential.
He spoke about the role that Luis Alberto will play within the squad.
I don’t see Luis Alberto as a regista, he’s good when he carries the ball and skips past opponents, but I don’t think someone like that should be there.
He must be used a bit like Hamsik, he must go between the lines, express himself in the last 30 meters, I see him for this use. In front of the defense, he can play a little if necessary.
The 62-year-old Italian coach commented on the anticipation of the Biancocelesti fans and if he felt the pressure.
I didn’t mind the pressure, I’m not a socialite, for me the fans are the ones who show up in front of me. I’m pleased they’re happy I’m here. I don’t think there’s any less pressure at Juve, Napoli or Chelsea. The normality of this job, even if I find it hard to consider it as such. It’s a passion.
It’s all normal, I had a year where I didn’t do anything, I didn’t miss football behind closed doors, I didn’t feel nostalgic. I missed the week but not the game, I didn’t feel like seeing it.
Now, with the fans in the stands, it will all grow out of all proportion in a short period of time, hopefully the pandemic will be positive and we will see the fans again like at the European Championship.
A new world is opening up, now I want to start coaching again.
Sarri spoke about which formation he’ll use, with a 4-3-3 and a 4-3-1-2 both being a possibility.
I’ve always been called a fundamentalist of all the systems, maybe I am a fundamentalist, but tell me about it because I find it hard to understand. The goal is to start with 4-3-3, but then there is the evolution.
At Empoli I started in one way and ended up in another, just like Napoli. At Chelsea there were no doubts about the characteristics of the forwards, I often changed the system from the first days of preparation.
The objective is the 4-3-3, let’s see the wingers who’ll be there, then it’s not that we have to be afraid of a young player in the three forwards, let’s see what the market offers, what it can bring us. We’re also ready to change our minds.
Even if our inside players are to be protected, the 1-2 up front leads you to cut the inside midfielders, it’s a wasteful formation, we lengthen their defensive runs, when I did it continuously like Empoli at the end of the game we had to change the wingers and go back to the 4-3-3.
The two inside players who have scored 17-18 goals as a pair are for a 4-3-3, we need to give them some help so they can continue to be dangerous defensively.
The former Napoli coach discussed if the club has any targets he must hit and how important Ciro Immobile will be.
Teams have certain characteristics, you have to be careful not to change them. It seems to me that this team has a lot of players who can score, if we can find two strikers on the wings it’s great.
Over the last few years, I’ve had many strikers who have scored a lot, from Higuain to Mertens, even Hazard scored more than 20 goals. Last year Ronaldo had his best scoring season since he’s been in Italy.
It’s good to have a striker who scores a lot, to have alternatives when the forward’s dry spell kicks in. Alternative options are very important, it’s up to the game and the characteristics.
We’ll see what the objective is, the first year will be one of construction, this doesn’t preclude us from anything, but it will be more difficult than the following years. But we’re not giving up.
The first year may be a bit of construction, we know the objective and from an economic point of view it makes a difference.
Sarri commented on if there’s potential for the Biancocelesti to win the Scudetto.
Without lockdown Lazio won, I’ve heard that cliché. In reality Juve won. Lazio certainly were the most fearsome, you could take your chances by getting a few games wrong.
I’ve seen that in the final phase of the season Lazio didn’t score many points, I don’t think it’s a physical issue, when I talk to the trainers, they are all very well prepared, it’s difficult to make a mistake.
Of course, if they change the calendar it can happen, it’s an unpredictable variable and anything can happen.
We are faced with crazy calendars, no one helps, UEFA will give you a European Championship with 24 teams, FIFA will make the World Cup with 50 teams, I expect everything. We did two years of qualification to eliminate many small national teams.
We have to make categories, it is unthinkable that someone who costs €1 million a month goes to play Andorra. We have to reduce the number of games, otherwise it’s hard. Injuries arrive, the quality of the games goes down, it’s inevitable.
I hope everyone has the good will to return to sustainable football, to return to ready games. For the Scudetto we’ll see, a different cycle is starting, we’ll play in a different way, we’ll try to remain competitive, possibly with the passage of time we’ll try to improve, the goal is to be highly competitive.
The club wanted to give me a four-year contract, but I wanted to make it shorter, because I’m a certain age and I wanted to make sure that in two years I have the same energy. I’m sure, if I do, I’ll extend it.
The 62-year-old Italian coach commented on the team’s commitments in the Europa League.
It depends on what kind of bear we will have, it’s a difficult tournament from a material point of view. We play on Thursday night, there are longer away games, the recovery is complicated. We did very well at Chelsea, 13 wins and 2 draws, but we had a very large squad, we could change 7-8 easily and we didn’t suffer in quality.
With those teams it’s easier. But people think that fatigue is only physical, it’s a mental thing for the whole team. I’ve seen that even though I’ve changed six or seven players, the team still looks tired, including the warehouse manager and the coach, and that’s something you feel.
Let’s see what kind of squad we get. I always think that in Europe you have to give everything, in Italy we have had some so-so years, you wear the shirt that represents the club and the fans at European level, this year it will be even more difficult.
The rounds will be more challenging than in the past, then come the Champions League rounds. It’s a very important commitment, we hope to have a squad that keeps us competitive. I’d rather drop out in March than look terrible in Europe.
He revealed why he chooses to not have any social media accounts.
I’m anti-social, it’s an evolution that has led us to a deterioration in social relations, thinking like this the natural consequence is not to have social networks.
I’m someone who already finds phone relationships difficult, I like to ring the doorbell and have someone come down to talk to them and see their face. For me, social networks are unfeasible for relationships.
The Italian coach touched on his relationship with president Claudio Lotito.
Lotito is quite big, he’s difficult to contain. I don’t come from easy experiences with presidents anyway.
Sarri did not think that the Luis Alberto issue was enough to force him out of the club.
Luis Alberto is managed by the club on a disciplinary level, then we will manage the relationships in the team group. We want to talk to him, maybe he’ll say things we agree with.
I don’t have the death penalty in my squads, I have argued fiercely with players, I may have taken them out for two games, then they played again.
The 62-year-old spoke about Lazio’s history and what impressed him.
Lazio’s history can be talked about in a thousand ways, but the one that sticks in my mind is Maestrelli’s, he’s an extraordinary character, I met his family and he’s remained dear to me.
I’m a fundamentalist of the 4-man defense, because at Empoli we tried a 3-man defense, for my directives it’s almost impossible. By asking you to focus on the area, to see the opponent, you always ended up deep and as 5.
I don’t have the patience to wait for teams, I get bored, I have the frenzy to go and attack. I realised that I was the one who was making it difficult for them to play in a three-man defense, so we went back to a back four. If we have three full backs one is missing, let’s see who can come in.
He touched on if the club will be signing any new defenders other than Elseid Hysaj.
Excluding Hysaj the others will have to go down a route, I don’t think it’s an insurmountable problem, I’ve spoken to Lazzari, he told me he wants to try, I wouldn’t worry, with that acceleration he’ll put in some moves and we’ll be ok.
It doesn’t seem to me that Mario Rui has different characteristics, maybe he’s a little shorter. Also Napoli were the second best defense in Serie A. Marusic is a good player, he can play in a back four with confidence.
Sarri discussed the situation involving team manager Angelo Peruzzi.
I spoke to Angelo 5 days ago at most, he’s an important person for Lazio, I hope that once he’s settled down from a physical point of view after the knee operation, I hope to find him again, he can give us a big hand. I called him to see how he was, I spoke to him.
He touched on the future of Argentinian forward Joaquin Correa.
Correa could be a left-sided forward if he has the desire and the motivation to do so. For some time, he had expressed the desire to change teams, if when he returns, he has changed his mind, I’d be the happiest of all and I’d ask him to be available to start on the left.
Finally, Sarri discussed Lazio’s midfield and how they fit into his plans.
If you’re playing with 12 players you play two central midfielders, if not one. Obviously when Lazio came to see me one day, we talked about changing something.
There’s room in the squad for two, I’ll see what the market brings. It’s hard to say we’ll choose this or that, it depends on the market, we’ll see what comes out.
I’ve never had a midfield of players, I had Kanté but also Jorginho and Kovacic. Here we have Lucas Leiva, next to two offensive players with quality. On Sergej it must be said that he also has defensive qualities, he puts away two thousand balls from the area, he makes his weight felt.
Luis Alberto also makes defensive movements, the important thing is to allow the line to have readings and stay high. If they are willing to make the movements, I’m interested in having the ability to keep the ball covered. I’m interested in that.