Maurizio Sarri presented Lazio’s first game of the new 2023-24 season against Lecce, touching on the transfer market and the integration of the new signings.
The Biancocelesti have picked up a few key reinforcements this summer, signing Valentin Castellanos, Daichi Kamada, Gustav Isaksen, Nicolo Rovella and Luca Pellegrini.
Lazio are still looking around for another midfielder and a backup goalkeeper, but will start their season without, putting a little pressure on Sarri and his players for the start of the new campaign.
Speaking in a press conference (via La Lazio Siamo Noi), Sarri first discussed his expectations for his third year at Lazio.
The same things, the league is difficult, there are teams better equipped than us. Last year we benefited from the efforts of others in Europe, I don’t think it will be repeated, so it will be even more difficult. There are on paper the same difficulties.
He gave his expectations for Serie A as a whole this season.
It seems to me to be growing slightly, I don’t take what happened in Europe last season for granted, the draws helped a little bit. It seems to me to be growing, though.
The Italian coach commented on the fight for a top four finish.
I think the values are in line with last year, we need to do something to the limits of our potential to fight for the Champions League.
He weighed in on the new signings.
They are almost all behind in condition, Rovella is coming from a slight injury, Kamada from a long period of inactivity, only Isaksen at a physical level seems to me to be in condition. But in the role now he is behind.
Sarri was asked if he was satisfied with the summer transfer window.
If 24 hours before the game I start talking about the market… It is already a scandal that the market is open at the beginning of the season, just as it is a scandal that it opens in January with all the games in the calendar.
In Italy we complain that the sellers now hold world football, but what laws have we made to prevent this? The market lasts three times as long as it did 30 years ago, let’s have a 10-day market and you’ll see that the agents will count for less.
I am p*ssed off that tomorrow some footballer may be with his head elsewhere. The crap I heard written in the summer, I never heard. The ones about me at least. 75% of the news about me were false.
I prefer to talk about Lecce and not about the market. Let the truth be known, which then here we are talking about bullsh*t, but if in serious things the kind of information is the same, then I am concerned.
He spoke about Kamada’s ability to replace Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and if the squad is stronger as a whole.
He can step in the same areas, but with different characteristics. He is a dribbler, he has good insertion times, but he does not have Milinkovic-Savic’s physique.
The team will play slightly differently. We have improved at the squad level, as 11 it remains to be seen.
The Lazio coach was asked if it would benefit the team to play on Tuesday or Wednesday instead of Thursday.
All to see, what matters is mental and emotional energy. On Thursdays it’s tough to come back in after the game, on a mental level after a game it’s not so obvious to recharge.
On the energy level definitely it will be easier, then we see from the emotional point of view. Then we also look at the schedule they have given us.
I talked to a statistician friend of mine, we play four away games at the beginning and of those three are against Juve, Napoli and Milan..It’s practically impossible, I think it’s not random.
He touched on what midfield the team need.
Tomorrow we play Lecce, where we lost last year. Call Lotito and Fabiani to talk about the market, otherwise I’ll get up and leave. I want to give my players more messages.
Sarri was asked if the 50th anniversary of the first Lazio Scudetto was a source of extra motivation.
Difficult to explain it to current generations, we have the misfortune of being old and having seen it, the luck of being alive. Difficult to tell certain characters, who were easily understood in those years.
Those who lived through Lazio know what that team and that coach represented. A Japanese or a Dane maybe will understand in some time.
If Juve only found motivation every 50 years it would be different….That Scudetto, of course, is special, like those of Napoli for example, they are Scudetti that have a higher appeal.
They are stories that I lived through in my youth, when you live them so intensely they stick with you for a lifetime. When you have the imprint of an extraordinary story it stays with you.
He spoke about Luis Alberto.
I saw him well, he had responsibilities last year as well. He did a good preparation, he comes from a more suffered period, some aches and pains are holding him back.
He will also be important in the next season, as he was also last year from November on. Now he has had some physical problems that are holding him back a bit, stuff that can be solved in the next few days.
Finally, Sarri commented on if any new signings would feature against Lecce.
The possibility is definitely there, to say they are ready no. I have certain characteristics, I have a hard time launching a player very quickly.
If one doesn’t know certain movements it puts everyone in trouble. Some for a segment we will definitely see. Kamada is not ready physically, he is not fully in the system, but he is a made player.
The performance can pull it out of you in any way. The others now have some difficulties, changing language, training and ways of eating is not easy.
I saw Platini suffer when he was young and came from 400 km away. Slowly we will get everyone right, now they are a little behind.