Maurizio Sarri hailed ‘phenomenal’ Pedro after a 3-0 win away to Lokomotiv Moscow, as Lazio will go for direct Europa League qualification against Galatasaray.
It proved to be a relatively comfortable win in Moscow, decided by a pair of Ciro Immobile penalties and a goal from substitute Pedro.
“Their pressing was pretty strong in the first half, they were aggressive and at times too much with some bad fouls,” Sarri told Sky Sport Italia.
“However, once we got past that press, we found spaces. It was all downhill after breaking the deadlock, as they had to open up a bit more and we made the most of it, as we could’ve had several more goals.
“Pedro is a phenomenal player and when he’s on these nights, in these games, he can change everything. In the end, quality makes the difference.”
Sarri is no fan of squad rotation, but started Immobile in this must-win game after his return from a calf injury.
“We usually would’ve rested him, but we made five changes from Saturday and had an extremely competitive line-up. This was probably the decisive match in a very difficult group.
“We’ve qualified, now we’ll see if we can secure direct access to the Round of 16.”
Only the group winners in the Europa League go through to the Round of 16, as the runners-up must enter a play-off to earn their ticket to that stage.
Lazio will secure first place as long as they beat Galatasaray in the final game at the Stadio Olimpico.
Sarri was asked if he is looking forward to facing his old club Napoli this weekend at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona.
“It can never be a game like the others against Napoli, that is obvious.”