Lazio coach Maurizio Sarri admitted his concerns ahead of the crucial Champions League clash with Feyenoord, but expressed confidence at this stage of the season.
The Biancocelesti started their European campaign well with a draw against Atletico Madrid and a win over Celtic, but their 3-1 loss to Feyenoord in their third game was a disappointing drop, reflective of their struggles domestically.
Lazio have started to recover after their slow start to the season but the 1-0 loss to Bologna on the weekend is a reminder that further work is still needed to truly iron out the issues. The pressure won’t ease, as their next game after Feyenoord is the Derby della Capitale against Roma.
Speaking in a press conference (via La Lazio Siamo Noi), Sarri first discussed Lazio’s match with Feyenoord last year and what insights it gives him.
Few, because they have changed. They had a 20-match unbeaten streak. This year they are even stronger, based on the recent game.
They are on the verge of tactical fouls, I’m worried that we will have to move the ball very quickly.
The conditions at the Olimpico, if they are like the last game, will not help us from this point of view.
He was asked if he doubted his future in the Italian capital.
I don’t mind the criticism. There are a lot of rumours that I want to leave at the end of the year, but I’ve always said the opposite. I want to stay here for a long time and finish my career here.
The Italian coach refused to accept the suggestion that this was a must-win game for Lazio.
This is corner talk, there are no must-win matches. We don’t take the results of other matches for granted. We are still in the middle of the group. This match is very important in the economy of the group.
I don’t like to hear that it has to be won at all costs. We will try to play the game as always. We will use our weapons. Everyone comments on the result, it almost seems as if we only look at the result. We missed turning chances into goals like last year.
I don’t know why this happens, we play the same way. What makes us think is that last year we were first in goals scored in relation to chances created, now we are 18th.
Sarri commented on how to solve this issue.
Sometimes we fail to create despite having created chances. Last year at a certain point in the season it was solved with attacking more spaces.
If when you occupy the area, you lose 2-0, you have to be careful with the balance. Kamada and Luis Alberto can play with Vecino as a low forward, even if he doesn’t have as much verticality.
He was asked if there were fears of repeating last year’s mistakes.
That would mean not having understood anything, also in the sense of the specific weight of the match itself. The opportunity to return to Europe comes from the league and not from Europe.
For us it is a fundamental occasion to play in Europe, but we need to do it with focus. The Champions League is a celebration, the league is work.
Finally, Sarri commented on the health of club captain Ciro Immobile.
He’s either offloading or recovering. I’m for recovering him at all costs, because he’s too important for us.