Sarri: ‘Lazio Newfound Stability but Struggle Closing Out Games’

Maurizio Sarri highlighted his concerns regarding Lazio’s ability to kill off games but was otherwise satisfied following the Coppa Italia win over Genoa.

The Biancocelesti edged out a 1-0 victory over the Rossoblu thanks to an early goal from Mateo Guendouzi. Despite performing far better on the night at the Stadio Olimpico, they failed to double their advantage, keeping things tense until the final whistle.

Lazio have now reached the Coppa Italia quarter-finals for the last 13 consecutive seasons, showing their consistent ability to stage campaigns in the cup. They’ll face the winner of Roma-Cremonese in the next round.

Speaking in a press conference (via La Lazio Siamo Noi), Sarri first reflected on Lazio’s win over Genoa.

We had several opportunities to close out the match. It was a good performance on a tactical level, as it was also against Cagliari. This evening we had faster ball circulation, so it was a less boring match, livelier than in the previous match.

Today we were more brilliant in terms of dribbling. The positive aspect is the newfound solidity, the negative aspect is that we don’t close out the games. And sooner or later that leaves us with something.

He was asked if the defensive solidity was starting to return.

The line is moving well, but it also seems to me to be well supported by a midfield that has grown a lot in terms of interdiction. The team are clearly growing. We need to rediscover that offensive danger that we had last year and that we are missing.

Unfortunately, the percentage between goals and chances is no longer what it was last season, and perhaps we also create fewer chances. I liked the dribbling that the team did at times this evening. And dribbling in there is serious stuff and very risky.

The pitch is unplayable, it’s a rough sea. Unfortunately, the situation is this. Today we lost a few too many balls in a trivial way, particularly from the pitch. But I liked the dribbling at times.

He explained why he started Luca Pellegrini, who provided the key assist for Guendouzi’s goal.

There are many reasons. I find it difficult to put Lazzari and Pellegrini together due to the characteristics of the two. In the last two months Lazzari has been kissed by God, Pellegrini has paid the price.

They’re not a pair of full backs that go well together. Then on personal aspects, they are two good players.

The Lazio coach provided an update on the injured players.

Isaksen was out due to an injury. Patric due to a stiffened calf. The doctors’ first impression is that there are no injuries, and therefore they are low intensity injuries, and therefore recoverable quickly. The others are recovering, Zaccagni did well part of the training with us this morning.

He should be recoverable. Casale should be back in the group tomorrow, Romagnoli not. He has his last check-up on Thursday. Luis Alberto was much better today, the tests have ruled out injuries. Yes, he hopes to recover too.

Sarri was asked about the Matias Vecino situation.

Vecino is part of a normal locker room incident that can happen, not even a particularly sensational one. The club made a decision and I agreed.

I don’t know if it’s something that can be healed, I think there is a possibility. But the club I have a very strong opinion on this situation.

He explained why the team played with so many long balls against Genoa.

It’s the Olimpico pitch effect. I always tell the boys to play from goal kicks and in the opponent’s half of the pitch. Then sometimes the players come back from the warm-up and tell me it’s unplayable. Last year the pitch was better in this period.

The Lazio coach commented on Nicolo Rovella’s qualities and discussed the team’s strength in depth.

The benches you remember are when you win derbies. It’s more important than victories in Champions League matches. Rovella can grow a lot, he goes too often to get the ball close, and this forces him not to know if he’s being attacked or not, and to play it behind or horizontally.

Since he has a wonderful ability to stay clear of the marker, he now has to learn a little to open up in reception. The problem with the dribbling that we had with Cagliari, and partly this evening too, is the lack of verticalization when the teams open up.

Finally, Sarri gave his thoughts on striker Valentin Castellanos.

He suffers a lot from not scoring. I spoke to him yesterday, I asked him why he made a tense entry and he told me it’s because he isn’t scoring goals.

Tags Biancocelesti Genoa Genoa vs Lazio Italy Lazio Lazio vs Genoa Maurizio Sarri Rome Sarri Serie A