Francesco Acerbi looked back at the end of his time with Lazio and tried to explain where things went wrong.
The 34-year-old Italian veteran pushed through a loan move to Inter in the summer, joining up with Simone Inzaghi, and looks set to sign a permanent contract in the Lombardy capital. Acerbi spent four years with Lazio but things ended in disastrous fashion in the summer after an incredibly difficult season.
Speaking to Corriere dello Sport (via Calciomercato.com), Acerbi first discussed Inter’s chances in the title race with Napoli this season.
Of course we can win, if we win against Napoli. It’s an in or out game. We play it all in January because, unlike the first part of the season, there will be no more time to recover and we won’t be able to make mistakes.
Napoli has done unthinkable things so far. After the break, however, things can change. And I say this from personal experience, just think of Lazio before and after COVID. Until the break we were unplayable. Then we know how it turned out.
He then touched on how the Nerazzurri managed to turn their season around after a poor start.
I don’t think there were such big problems. Even if there were wrong attitudes. Telling each other off, however, can also be useful from time to time and you don’t necessarily have to take it out on each other.
Obviously it depends on the spirit in which one makes certain gestures. And you always notice when it’s the right one.
Finally, Acerbi reflected on his departure from Lazio in the summer and where things started to go wrong in the Italian capital.
Let’s start at the end. I would have stayed for life, otherwise I wouldn’t have signed for five years. But it was still me who wanted to leave. And in June I told Sarri, who wanted to keep me. I had been delighted with his arrival.
And I have nothing to say about his value as a coach, on the contrary, he’s great, he’s strong and he thinks about football 24 hours a day. But I didn’t feel suited to what he wants from a central defender.
I wanted to have fun, to do what I like on the pitch, I need to anticipate the opponent, to read the game. Sarri, on the other hand, has his system and either you do this or you do that. Mind you, though, I’ve always given everything, never sparing myself.
As I gave my all, so did my teammates. We struggled, though. And they booed us. After the goal against Genoa I put my index finger in front of my mouth, making the gesture to keep quiet. It wasn’t appropriate, so I apologised.
It wasn’t enough, at that moment something broke. I have a fiery character and I care about what I do. It would be easier to be an asshole, but I’m not like that. In the last year I have had to eat a lot of sh*t.
I made one mistake, but that’s worth five compared to the 95 I had to swallow. I still went on my way, putting my face to it and not giving a damn. And I am very proud of that.
Others, in my place, would have quit much earlier. I expected the club to defend me, absolutely. You can make mistakes, but the club has to protect you in public. Even if they slaughter you in private.
Inter are open to keeping Acerbi after his loan deal expires but they’re looking to secure a discount on the €4m fee agreed with Lazio in the summer.