Maurizio Sarri is hoping to see signs of growth in his Lazio squad as they prepare to host defending champions Milan.
The Biancocelesti did well to bounce back after their negative start to the year, picking up wins over Sassuolo and Bologna, and they’ll be confident of pulling off a strong result against the Rossoneri.
Lazio lost all three clashes with Milan last season, twice in the league and once in the Coppa Italia, so they’ll be hungry to take revenge at the Stadio Olimpico.
First of all, don’t be superficial and have the awareness of facing the Italian champions. They have always put us in difficulty, we can’t think we won’t encounter difficulties.
They’ll be a more motivated team than usual. The match offers us a great opportunity, this must also be in our minds. We have to take advantage of that.
The 63-year-old Italian coach compared Felipe Anderson and former Napoli forward Dries Mertens.
He is strong and can do well anywhere. Dries is perhaps more offensive and attacks the penalty area better. Felipe can give us a lot as a wide player. He lacks little, he is a strong player who, unlike last years, is finding consistency.
He weighed in on Juventus’ 15-point deduction.
We don’t have to think about it, it’s a completely evolving situation. Last night I saw two very very strong teams.
The objective is to give 100%. I haven’t heard any comments from the players about Juventus’ penalty. For us it’s irrelevant.
The Lazio coach discussed how the team have evolved since their previous meeting with Milan.
Hopefully we’ve grown a lot. In a single game we can compete with anyone. Last year they showed they were stronger, even last year in the third game when for an hour we were level.
We will evaluate tomorrow how much we have grown and how long we can stay in the game.
Sarri highlighted the impact of not having a suitable backup for Ciro Immobile.
We need more forwards at this level to have more rotation. If we keep playing with these three every game, sooner or later, we’ll pay for it.
He spoke about Sergej Milinkovic-Savic’s work after the World Cup.
In the last two games he has played more seriously and less spectacularly. He has taken the right path.
If he continues to play with this application, taking away some frivolities, when he returns to playing 100% he will give us a big hand.
The 63-year-old underlined his happiness with former Milan man Alessio Romagnoli.
By characteristics he is particularly suited to how I want the line to move. He leads the defence in a careful and applied manner. I’m very happy with him.
He did not think the game with Milan was a decisive one for the Biancocelesti.
These are important matches, they definitely leave some positive or negative marks. But the strength of a team is to look ahead.
Then we will play every three days, so it’s useless to be influenced by what has happened. The hope is that we don’t get pregnant under any circumstances.
Sarri did not want to talk about the January transfer market.
We’ll talk about it in the evening at dinner… we’ll talk about it and organise ourselves. The cheese stall is usually next to the meat stall, if you need it, I’ll take you there.
I don’t care, I have to play Milan tomorrow. Right now, the only thing I can do is to get Immobile back.
He spoke about the availability of Immobile.
Tomorrow or Wednesday he’ll have more checks. The feelings are good, let’s hope the good feelings are confirmed by the tests.
Finally, Sarri commented on why Lazio haven’t followed in Milan’s footsteps.
Give yourself an answer. Milan are a very strong team, they signed strong youngsters. And then they were able to spend €28m on De Ketelaere, it means theirs is a sustainable difficulty.
They have made an extraordinary path, they have grown, the club has intervened to improve the team. They were in decline, in three years they have turned the team around, but it’s not just an economic issue.