Maurizio Sarri was relieved to see his Lazio squad perform well in their Coppa Italia win over Bologna, calling it ‘one of the highest-risk matches’.
The Biancocelesti picked up a key 2-0 win away to Sassuolo on the weekend and carried this momentum into their Coppa Italia Round of 16 clash with Thiago Motta’s side, looking strong as they cruised to a 1-0 win. The victory puts them into the quarter-finals of the cup, where they’ll face Juventus.
Speaking in a press conference (via La Lazio Siamo Noi), Sarri first reflected on Lazio’s work in their 1-0 win over Bologna.
The message was clear, this was one of the highest-risk matches, in the initial phase the matches seem of little interest and then it becomes an important competition.
We play in five days’ time, the message was clear, we had to do this because the schedule puts this match in front of us.
I don’t know if it will be repeatable in the future, the message was that and the performance was completely dominant except for the last seven minutes, when we went down.
In the second half we had the game under total control, I’m sorry we didn’t score the second goal, we took no shots on goal if you go and look at the stats.
He touched on how Lazio responded without their talismanic striker Ciro Immobile.
In the first 25 minutes if Ciro was there I’d have been calmer, with them so closed down, it’s true that Felipe doesn’t give points of reference but sometimes he doesn’t give them to us either, due to his characteristics.
I don’t think the average is much lower with Ciro. I’d like to have him every game, we don’t just miss him on the pitch because he’s a point of reference off it too, in the dressing room.
The 63-year-old Italian coach commented on the transfer market noise surrounding Luis Alberto.
He knows very well that there’s nothing at the moment, there are no possibilities. I’ve been saying for two months that he’s the player in the best physical and mental condition, unfortunately he had a November and December where there were no games.
I’ve always said that he was in great physical condition and played great games in terms of both the defensive and offensive phases. Now he is a total player, a phenomenal player.
Sarri also spoke about Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and his struggles after the World Cup break.
I don’t have the impression of superficiality either against Sassuolo or Bologna. He’s not in top physical condition but he’s playing more concretely, maybe he realises he’s not at the top and he’s making himself available.
He’s charting the right course and I expect exponential growth in the next two or three games.
He touched on when Immobile might return to the squad following his recent hamstring injury.
It’s difficult to speculate, it seems to me that he will have a check-up on Tuesday or Wednesday and then we will have precise indications on the timing. I expect and hope that the return will be quite quick.
Finally, Sarri was confident that he had nothing to discuss with Lazio’s management following the recent debate surrounding the team’s chances of qualifying for the Champions League.
I don’t have to clarify with anyone, if you talk about my feelings, I give my thoughts and I don’t have to clarify them with anyone. I have not disrespected anyone, so I don’t need to clarify anything with anyone.