Maurizio Sarri was irritable in his Lazio press conference and not just because of the delay, warning Celtic are the ‘loose cannon’ of this Champions League group.
It kicks off at Celtic Park on Wednesday at 20.00 UK time (19.00 GMT).
The press conference and pitch inspection had to be delayed by an hour, because while Lazio’s flight from Rome did land on time, it took considerably longer than expected to get through the post-Brexit security clearance.
That contributed to Sarri’s sour mood, although that was already evident after his comments over the weekend on the transfer strategy caused controversy with President Claudio Lotito.
“The problem is when the media report only two out of eight words that you say and not all of them. From here on, I might just answer with yes and no to avoid confusion,” noted the coach.
Scottish football is traditionally very physical, but that is not what Sarri is expecting from the Hoops.
“It is the least physical game of the whole group. They are a very dynamic team who play with intensity, but not in terms of physical impact.
“Celtic seem like a very dangerous team in certain aspects. They surprised me with their technical quality and before the red cards they deserved more against Feyenoord.”
Sarri had already faced Brendan Rodgers when he was in charge of Leicester City.
“This is a very different team compared to his Leicester, he is a great coach and was also at Liverpool for three years. Celtic can be the loose cannon of this group.”
The question about whether this was an opportunity for Lazio to ‘make up’ for their Serie A form also irritated Sarri.
“We are in the Champions League, it is a completely different tournament to Serie A and we do not have to make up for anything. All we need is to be competitive all the way. There is no need to search for any other motivation.”
The biggest issue in Sarri’s tenure has been a lack of consistency in approach and performance, sometimes even within the same match, and he still hasn’t understood it.
“There is a good atmosphere within the group and that makes us confident, but at the same time we cannot understand what happened.
“We are not a strategic team. The moment of impact is more about character than tactics. We did it on Saturday against Milan, then lacked character as the game went on. They forced us to sit deeper, we could’ve dealt with it with more determination.
“I liked the fact we reacted after Milan took the lead. Either it is a problem of our attitude when they pushed us back or it is the usual problem we tend to have in the second half.”