Maurizio Sarri did not shy away from the challenge ahead of Lazio as they fight for a top four finish this season.
The Biancocelesti’s return from the international break kicks off with an away match against an ambitious Monza, a team that almost stole a point in their first meeting of the season back in November.
Lazio currently sit second in the Serie A table with 52 points, five clear of fifth place Roma. With 11 games left to play, Sarri’s side cannot afford to lose ground as they fight for a spot in the Champions League.
Speaking in a press conference (via TMW), Sarri first looked ahead to the clash with Monza.
We prepare tomorrow’s match with logic and utmost humility, the win gives us an advantage but we face a team with high values.
They know how to put you in difficulty with dribbling. After the great victories this year, we’ve lost a thread of motivation, it’s a limit we have to overcome.
He provided an update on talismanic striker Ciro Immobile.
Clinically he’s fine but he’s still not 100% fit. We’ll see if we can use him for a match.
The Lazio coach was asked about Roberto Mancini’s decision not to call up Nicolo Casale and Mattia Zaccagni for Italy’s first two Euro 2024 qualifiers.
We have a coach who does the call-ups. When my players are not called up for the national team, I am happy because they can train with me. By now the league is no longer sustainable, the pace is absurd.
The league is no longer viable, I have heard comparisons with the NBA, it’s madness. You play 38 minutes against 90, in football you take more hits than in the NBA, in European basketball a little less. Vecino went to Japan and South Korea to play two friendlies.
Sarri commented on if his opinion on the difficulty of the top four race had changed.
I have always said that there are teams that are superior to our squad, on an overall level. I see teams making changes that leave you thinking, I saw Atalanta against Empoli, 20 minutes from the end they put in Boga, Hojlund and Lookman.
I remain of the idea that there are superior teams, we have to fight and then we’ll see how it goes.
He touched on the final 11 games of the season and what they mean to Lazio.
The lead is almost symbolic, when I think of the points recovered in the last five games, I think of what could happen in 11 games. We can’t rely on the current table.
I would not look at the whole season, but at tomorrow’s match. Juve lost at Monza, Inter drew there.
Let’s take the small advantage of playing once a week, but let’s think match by match. Nothing can be taken for granted this year.
The Biancocelesti coach was asked about Juventus loanee Luca Pellegrini.
If he can play from the start, I’ll tell him. I’m very happy with Luca, he’s looking good, participative, great progression of condition and learning.
Then we’re talking about a line that worked, getting your hands on it is always difficult.
He was also asked about Sergej Milinkovic-Savic.
He hasn’t been performing at his best lately. If he returns to 100%, he can make a difference in the final part of the season. We await him with great confidence.
Finally, Sarri discussed how his relationship with Luis Alberto evolved.
It depends on what you mean. He is now a phenomenal player, I don’t know what the public and journalists watch during games.
For what the coach sees, what he is doing makes me happy. He’s a total player, he shoots from outside, he chases, he does everything. An over-the-top player.