Maurizio Sarri looked shell-shocked as he tried to understand Lazio’s perplexing 5-1 Europa League loss to FC Midtjylland.
Words cannot do justice to the horrific performance the Biancocelesti displayed at the MCH Arena last night, with the team looking amateurish and confused as their Danish opposition flew to an enjoyable victory in front of their adoring home support.
First half goals from Paulinho and Sory Kaba gave Midtjylland a comfortable lead and they secured the win with second half strikes from Evander Ferreira, Gustav Isaksen and Erik Sviatchenko. Sergej Milinkovic-Savic netted a consolation goal just before the hour mark.
Speaking to gathered reporters in a press conference (via La Lazio Siamo Noi), Sarri first revealed what he said to the Lazio fans after the full time whistle.
I told them that they were completely right, because this is a game we didn’t play, and we didn’t play it out of presumption.
At the basis of these games there’s a great dose of humility, if you go around Europe you meet these kinds of figures as happened to us and as happened to some other teams last year.
It’s inevitable. What I regret is that for three days we’ve been beating ourselves up about this and instead we absolutely failed. We did everything wrong, from the approach of the days before the game to the match itself.
It was obvious already in the first twenty minutes, when possession was totally ours, that we were cocky, that we were touching down at two miles an hour without ever sinking. It almost looked like we were a team managing the last 20 minutes with a 4-0 lead.
When a team has this kind of attitude in possession, in the phase of non-possession at the first sign of difficulty they scored goals, it was obvious.
He commented on if he saw the same issues that plagued Lazio last season.
Unfortunately I didn’t see much difference. These sudden emotional collapses are similar to those of previous years.
It’s hard to understand the motivation, because if the motivation is me, I have to take a step back, if it’s the fault of a player, he has to be sold instantly.
Some within this squad who insinuate this issue are bound to be there.
The 63-year-old Italian coach touched on if this defeat was also partly his fault.
This is a locker room in which there are no criticalities, but these dips, which you can call emotional or nervous, are there.
My fear is that there’s some trigger that we have never been able to identify and tame. You don’t have this kind of relationship where you think these things can come up.
It is a beautiful environment to live in, but then there are also games to be played.
Sarri discussed Midtjylland’s performance and if he was surprised.
I’m not surprised, but I think Midtjylland are not assessable. They played against a dull, dead team, if I have to evaluate the level in comparison to my team I think they are the clear favourites for the Europa League.
But they played against a dead team, I don’t know when they will play a live team. But I saw them and they’re a good team.
He explained what he meant by the issues plaguing this Lazio squad.
I don’t mean that there’s a sick head. I mean the issue in the sense that some can transmit this independently of their will. It’s not that some come into the locker room and say ‘now I’m going to things superficial’.
I think there’s an involuntary transmission, that’s clear. This is a game prepared by superficial players and played with conceit. There is no shadow of a doubt about that.
Finally, Sarri spoke about how the situation can be resolved and if he saw any warning signs.
This is a team that never gives you this feeling, even before last year’s games where we didn’t play – like this one – there were no big warning signs during training that the team would be so absent.
It’s extremely difficult to tell you how it could turn out, it’s not easily solved. It’s difficult to frame a situation like this.