Sarri: ‘Champions League Atmosphere Gives Lazio Motivation’

Maurizio Sarri praised the performance and focus of his Lazio squad after their Champions League win over Celtic, suggesting the clash ‘was mentally easy’.

The Biancocelesti secured a vital 2-0 win over their Scottish opponents thanks to a late second-half brace from captain Ciro Immobile, who silenced his doubters by driving his team to victory. Atletico Madrid’s win over Feyenoord means the Roman club have now secured a spot in the Round of 16.

Lazio now have the opportunity to put all of their focus on Serie A for the time being, trying to climb back to the European spots after a disappointing run of results. The team sit seven points behind fourth place Napoli.

Speaking in a press conference (via TMW) after the match, Sarri first reacted to Lazio’s win over Celtic.

As I explained last year, the difference was between the league and the Europa League. This year we are doing the opposite.

The atmosphere of the Champions League gives us motivation that we lack in the league, this is a big limitation. Today we played a good game, attentive and concentrated.

He noted how he never doubted the support of his players.

I had no big doubts about this. I have doubts about the team’s mentality, which has shortcomings in certain matches that are considered easy. And then on the pitch we are without determination, ferocious application, without aggression.

The only concern I have is in this sense, not the personal aspect of the players. If we had had the same application as tonight in the league, we would have had many more points.

The audience was spectacular, it’s a pleasure to make them happy. But let’s draw conclusions with Cagliari.

The Lazio coach touched on his decision to bring Immobile off the bench.

The idea was born this morning, even considering the schedule. Then we wanted to have two or three important changes on the bench, Pedro and Immobile are.

We don’t want to bleed the players dry. Ciro came from the long shot against Salernitana, we decided to let Castellanos do it from the start.

Sarri gave his thoughts on the work of winger Gustav Isaksen, who provided both assists.

He just waited, he played a good game. He doesn’t speak Italian, even though he has already learned the bad words, he is young and comes from another league. We had to give him time.

He also had to change his diet significantly, there are differences between the Danish and the Italian ones. These are adjustments that a 30-year-old can perhaps absorb in less time, while a 20-year-old like him needs more time.

But you can see in training that he has talent. Like Gila, he is fast and with less physical teams he can be very suitable.

He spoke about his usage of Adam Marusic on the left side of the defence.

It’s a solution that has often proven to be right, I’m thinking of Maldini who played on the left. Yes, Marusic can find a bit of embarrassment with his weak foot, but playing with Lazzari and two very tall centre-backs, I didn’t feel like doing without Marusic’s physicality.

The development was very good in the first half. Unlike other times we tried working from outside, with better results. But inside the area we can be more poisonous.

He explained why he seemed calm on the Biancocelesti bench.

Because I was satisfied with the performance, I didn’t know the result, but the team’s performance was good. We were good in the game. I will be much more anxious against Cagliari, that’s what I want.

In Europe there are many teams stronger than us, but we fight. But there are two or three defeats in the league that I still have here. Cagliari gives us the mentality signal, today’s game was mentally easy. If you don’t attack matches, you suffer them.

Finally, Sarri again hinted at his plans for the future.

I said I wanted to end here but you know how football is. You lose two games, and you go home, you win two and you renew for five seasons. This size is suitable for me, the team are not about funds but about people you talk to, so I’m fine with it.

I have a contract until 2025. At the end of the year, I should definitely stay for another season, then if the conditions are right I’ll gladly stay.

Tags Biancocelesti Celtic celtic vs lazio Champions League Italy Lazio lazio vs celtic Maurizio Sarri Rome Sarri Serie A UCL