Maurizio Sarri is understandably prepared for Lazio’s difficult Serie A clash against Inter this evening, underlining the strengths of the Nerazzurri and their coach Simone Inzaghi.
The Biancocelesti are hoping for a strong showing at the Stadio Olimpico this evening, keen to bounce back after last weekend’s frustrating 0-0 draw with Torino. Clashes like the one tonight are key for Lazio if they want to challenge for a top four finish this season.
Speaking to gathered reporters in a press conference (via LazioNews24), Sarri first discussed Lazio’s defensive plan ahead of the match against Inter.
We’re facing what is probably the strongest team in Italy. I think they’re one of the favourites for the Scudetto, as they were last year. Then it’s the details that count.
However, we have to talk about the defensive phase and not just defending. That would be reductive. I hope the team will show the application and concentration we saw in the first two games.
He touched on if any players would be rotated for the match.
I don’t make planned rotations, but I make changes based on what I see in training. I think it’s a mistake to plan them based on what will happen in ten days’ time.
Also because maybe someone gets injured and misses everything. I think then it will be something natural, because maybe someone comes out tired. We have to think match by match.
The Lazio coach commented on the threat posed by the Nerazzurri’s set pieces.
Inter have a great physicality and this is undoubtedly a problem for everyone and not only for us. Certainly set-pieces are a factor to be taken into account, also because they have two or three players who get the ball off the ground well.
Sarri had high praise for his Inter counterpart Inzaghi, who had a successful five-year spell in Rome before heading up to Lombardy last year.
He was a great coach even when he was at Lazio, where he had an important cycle. Now he certainly coaches one of the strongest teams and so the level of expectations has risen for him.
The 63-year-old Italian coach spoke about his own tactical evolution and what he wants to show with Lazio.
The players you have at your disposal determine the way you play. If I wanted to repeat Napoli in every experience I have I would be making a mistake. We have to go for other solutions.
You have to take into account the characteristics of who you have at your disposal. We have a striker who is very strong in the box. And this is something that determines your season.
He looked ahead to the Biancocelesti’s upcoming fixtures against Sampdoria, Napoli and Hellas Verona.
The next three games will give us clues and signals, but we certainly won’t be able to make definitive judgments. We are a marathon runner who has to do 38km, after 5km you can’t come to conclusions.
Sarri provided an update on Lazio’s search for a new left back.
I don’t have to choose the left-back and I don’t have to indicate his characteristics. There are those who do it for a living. Why should I do it.
Now, however, I want to think about the game. I’m also worried about you. When the market ends what will you talk about? Start talking about football.
The Biancocelesti coach spoke about Brazilian winger Felipe Anderson, unhappy with the suggestion that his defensive contributions limit his attacking potential.
I find it difficult to think that if someone applies themselves in the defensive phase they’ll lose out in the offensive phase. I think it’s just a phase that he’s going through, but I don’t think he’s going to get distracted in attack.
That sounds like some of the biggest rubbish I’ve ever heard. Pipe is putting everything into it, but maybe he lacks a bit of brilliance to switch on. I’m convinced he will, though, and I’m glad he’s making himself useful in defence.
He also commented on the status of midfielder Toma Basic.
Against Bologna he came off for tactical reasons, because I couldn’t do without the man who was supporting Immobile and getting the action going. It had nothing to do with the boy’s performance.
He seems to me to have grown in personality. I see him more involved and present. For me he’s ready for a definitive evolution, having already gone through the adaptation period.
The Lazio coach highlighted some of the team’s issues going forward.
We may lack a bit of brilliance in the players who make the difference up front, it’s normal. There are roles that if the leg goes at 31 and not 32 miles per hour, it can make the difference.
Even in Turin we had six clear goals. Now we lack finishing. Last year the conversation percentage was very high, while today it may depend on brilliance.
He touched on the adaption of new signing Matias Vecino.
He played an orderly match. He can give more, but he has just arrived and he did a preparation alone in Uruguay.
He still has to grow, but I liked how he proposed himself to the team and the squad.
Finally, Sarri challenged the idea that he’d need to make specific tactical changes to counter Inter’s players.
Moves are bullsh*t. If a player does well it’s a move, if he does badly it’s bullsh*t. These are things that don’t concern me as a mentality and way of thinking.
Then I don’t know if by move you mean making a different choice for the characteristics of the opponents. Then the only one I expect is Gagliardini over Milinkovic-Savic.