A rift has started to form between Maurizio Sarri and Igli Tare regarding Lazio’s chances of qualifying for the Champions League, with the former suggesting that it would take a miracle.
Ahead of the clash with Sassuolo, the 63-year-old Italian coach told reporters at a press conference that Lazio’s recent history shows that the team are not Champions League regulars and that it would take a “miraculous season” to qualify for next season’s competition.
Sporting director Tare was unimpressed with this comment and publicly revealed that he “disagrees with Sarri”, claiming that qualification was “a goal we defined at the beginning of the season” and that the team “had everything they need to fight” for a top-four finish. To test your knowledge and bet on where Lazio will finish this campaign, visit and receive the BetVictor sign up offer.
It’s not hard to see why Sarri believes a miracle is needed. Lazio clearly have depth issues in their squad and a new starting left back is needed, with Elseid Hysaj failing to hit the mark. The lack of a backup centre forward also forces the Biancocelesti to over-rely on talisman Ciro Immobile, putting him at risk of injury across the busy season.
Knowing Lazio’s history, it’s difficult to imagine any serious investments coming in this month’s transfer market, essentially forcing Sarri to compete with stronger squads like Napoli, Inter, Milan and Juventus in the fight for a top-four finish.
The underlying numbers also don’t bode well for Lazio’s chances of reaching the Champions League spots; the team have produced an expected goals (xG) of 22.7 this campaign, the 9th best in the league, behind teams like Udinese, Fiorentina and Juventus. Sarri’s side have also taken the 4th least shots on target in Serie A this season, only managing 195, behind clubs like Spezia, Monza, Empoli and Bologna.
These stats don’t bode well for a team looking to stay involved in the fight for a top-four finish, backing Sarri’s position. The failure to pick up a replacement for Vedat Muriqi in the summer has started to limit the team’s ability to add an extra layer to their attack and the recent injury suffered by Immobile has again put this discussion in the limelight.
A few things do give Lazio hope, however. Sarri’s side have done well in direct clashes with their competition in the top four race, beating Inter 3-1, Atalanta 2-0 and Roma 1-0. The 3-0 loss to Juventus and 2-1 defeat to Napoli both generate a little cause for concern, but generally, it’s apparent that the Biancocelesti can compete against the toughest opposition.
More worrying are the dropped points in games against provincial sides, with draws to Empoli and Udinese and a loss to Salernitana all leaving the team frustrated.
Considering the limited investments Lazio are likely to receive this month, it would take a serious effort and a little luck for the club to qualify for the Champions League this season, giving Sarri and his players a tough task.