Maurizio Sarri looked for the positives after Lazio’s Champions League loss to Atletico Madrid but again highlighted the bluntness in front of goal.
The Biancocelesti created a few good chances in their trip to the Spanish capital on Wednesday evening but were unable to get on the scoresheet as Atletico cruised to a 2-0 win at home, confirming their first-place finish in the group.
Lazio will now face a first-placed group in their Champions League Round of 16 clash, which’ll likely face them against a tough opponent like Bayern Munich or Manchester City. Regardless, their progression in the competition is a success for Sarri and his players.
Speaking in a press conference (via La Lazio Siamo Noi), Sarri first discussed the fact that all four Spanish clubs won their groups in the Champions League this season.
These are not absolute truths, but it will be an indication. Last year the Italians reached the end, it seemed like a reversal of trend, but I have always said that the draws had an influence. The long term gives more reliable indications, in La Liga now the level seems quite high to me.
He touched on the fact that Lazio did well to create some chances but suffered defeat due to defensive errors.
I agree with the two-half approach. In both parts, in the first 10 minutes, they had a different ferocity. In the central phase of the first half, we found situations to do damage.
I read the data, the chances it’s four against four, we created the chances. Then I don’t know if this failure to realize them depends on a different mental wickedness. Maybe.
They are of a high level from a technical point of view and mental capacity. They are bad, cunning, they remain on the ground if needed. They have a great mentality. At this level we lack a bit of displacement.
He was asked what made the difference between the two sides.
I’m unhappy with someone’s performance, but it’s normal. Coming to this stadium and creating four chances… I didn’t even expect it. With every mistake we made, Atletico scored.
We, on the other hand, didn’t succeed. In terms of numbers, the match doesn’t make a big difference. Maybe it depends on the offensive quality.
The Lazio coach was also asked if he’d request reinforcements in the coming transfer window.
I also asked for them in June. They are corporate problems, let’s see what they decide. We put our own impacts on the two halves, they decided the result.
Sarri discussed Atletico’s game plan against his side.
We more or less knew how Atletico would play. A 5-3-2 which in the build-up phase would almost transform into a four-man defence, with Molina deeper than Lino. In terms of pressure, we came up a little less in the second half, it was more difficult to follow up on the first pressure.
Our game plan was different, we wanted to keep the game balanced, remain compact, without accepting the open-pitch game, given their qualities. Then we would have taken risks in the last 20 minutes, we went behind, and everything changed.
Finally, Sarri confirmed that he’d be happy to face a Spanish club in the Round of 16.
No, in my entire career I have never played against Barcelona. It is my wish, even if they play in another stadium now. I would like to play against them at least once in my life.